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Monday, May 30, 2016

Effort to Expose Russia’s ‘Troll Army’ Draws Vicious Retaliation

HELSINKI, Finland — Seeking to shine some light into the dark world of Internet trolls, a journalist with Finland’s national broadcaster asked members of her audience to share their experience of encounters with Russia’s “troll army,” a raucous and often venomous force of online agitators.

The response was overwhelming, though not in the direction that the journalist, Jessikka Aro, had hoped.

As she expected, she received some feedback from people who had clashed with aggressively pro-Russian voices online. But she was taken aback, and shaken, by a vicious retaliatory campaign of harassment and insults against her and her work by those same pro-Russian voices.

“Everything in my life went to hell thanks to the trolls,” said Ms. Aro, 35, an investigative reporter with the social media division of Finland’s state broadcaster, Yle Kioski.

Abusive online harassment is hardly limited to pro-Russian Internet trolls. Ukraine and other countries at odds with the Kremlin also have legions of aggressive avengers on social media.

But pro-Russian voices have become such a noisy and disruptive presence that both NATO and the European Union have set up special units to combat what they see as a growing threat not only to civil discourse but to the well-being of Europe’s democratic order and even to its security.

ROTFLMFAO in TEARS....................YEP the Russian ""Reset"" IS Working Just FINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gallup: Just 1% Russians approve of U.S., Obama, far worse than Bush
By Paul Bedard

President Obama's 2008 campaign pledge to improve the image of the United States around the world hasn't worked in Russia where a decade low of just 1 percent approve of American leadership, according to Gallup.

In fact, Gallup said that Russia's view of the U.S. is the lowest in the world and comes at a time when Moscow is flexing its military muscle in hotspots like Syria where Obama is struggling to use force.

The 1 percent Russian approval of the United States is below where it was when former President George W. Bush left office, at about 20 percent.

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NATO urged to show stronger resolve on Russia, boost defense

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — NATO's Parliamentary Assembly has urged alliance members to stand up to Russia's military assertiveness and to decide to better share the burden of collective defense when they hold a summit in July.

Assembly President, U.S. Congressman Michael R. Turner, on Monday said that "Russia's aggressiveness comes with a price," and urged the member countries to boost defense spending.

Some 250 parliamentarians from 28 NATO member countries and partners have gathered in a three-day session in the Albanian capital, Tirana, under tight security measures.

Terrorism, mass migration, the Ukraine crisis and Western Balkan security have been also debated during the session. 

I Warned YOU All that a Split in NATO Was Coming and "IS" what PUTIN has been Working Toward for the Last 7 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Greek protesters burn NATO & EU flags at Crete military base (VIDEO)

Greek left wing protesters have held a major rally outside the NATO base in Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete, demanding the expulsion of the “imperialist” alliance which they claim “violates” the “sovereignty” of the country.

Amid heavy police presence, the protesters, led by Greek MP and Communist Party member Manolis Syntychakis, burned EU and NATO flags in front of the cameras. Holding protest banners and chanting anti- NATO slogans, the crowd delivered a letter bearing a list of demands to Air Force Colonel Ioannis Gerolimos, commander of the Hellenic Air Force base.

Ukraine Russia Military 

Putin Russia Military!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Australia's debt problem looks worse than China's, says Morgan Stanley
By Jacob Greber

Ballooning government and household debt has failed to produce a meaningful economic growth dividend and is increasing risks to the economy, according to damning research by Morgan Stanley that lends support to Labor's push to dump negative gearing.

Calculations by the investment bank show Australia last year used up more than $9 of debt for every $1 of extra gross domestic product, which is around three times more than the debt needed to produce the same amount of growth in the US economy.

​Even more concerning, according to Morgan Stanley, is the comparison to China – where a so-called "debt productivity ratio" of $6 has stoked deep-seated global financial market fears this year about the sustainability of the world's second-largest economy.

Speaking as the federal election debate increasingly focuses on risks to Australia's AAA credit rating, Daniel Blake, an economist at Morgan Stanley in Sydney, warned that Australia should urgently find sources of growth that are less debt-intensive, particularly outside the hugely leveraged property market.

Business indicators a mixed bag for GDP

A mixed business indicators report won't shake the boat for Wednesday's first quarter economic growth figures.

Company profits began 2016 on a soft note and wages stayed low, while sales surged in the March quarter, UBS economists said.

"Today's first quarter GDP (gross domestic product) building blocks were mixed, but overall on the positive side," they said.

"An increase in inventories will add to growth; and while profits dropped further, there was a modest gain in wages, as well as a notable spike in sales."

UBS is sticking to its forecast for real GDP of 0.7 per cent for the March quarter and 2.7 per cent year-on-year, down slightly from three per cent at the end of 2015.

But UBS says there is now a chance that could drift higher.

"We await the final partial data, due tomorrow, which is expected to show a big boost from net exports, as well as a modest rise in public demand," they said.

Company gross operating profits were much weaker than expected in the March quarter, dropping 4.7 per cent.

They were down 8.4 per cent in the 12 months to March, the worst result since mining collapsed in 2012.

Most of the weakness was in the export-facing sector of mining, which has now contracted for the past eight quarters, and in manufacturing. 

Shanghai copper eyes 5 pct slide in May on stronger dollar, softer demand

* LME closed for public holiday on Monday

* Speculators add to bearish copper position in latest week-CFTC

* Coming Up: 0900 Euro zone Business climate for May (Adds comment, detail, updates prices)

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, May 30 (Reuters) - Shanghai copper eased on Monday in thin trading, with the London Metal Exchange shut for a long weekend, and as a stronger dollar and fading Chinese demand dragged prices towards their weakest monthly showing since November.

The dollar hit a one-month high against the yen early on Monday and stood tall against other peers after comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen enhanced the prospect of a near-term U.S. interest rate hike.

The U.S. central bank should raise interest rates "in the coming months" if economic growth picks up and the labour market continues to improve, she said on Friday.

The dollar's upward trend as a U.S. rate rise nears has weighed on commodity prices that have become more expensive for buyers paying with other currencies.

Emerging Markets Pounded by Yellen as Run of Monthly Gains Stall
By Ian C Sayson

Emerging-market currencies and stocks fell, set to halt a streak of monthly gains, as demand wanes amid mounting signs from U.S. central bank officials that they are close to raising interest rates again.

South Korea’s won led losses among exchange rates on Monday before economic reports this week on exports, industrial production and a final update on the first quarter economic performance, which could help sway policy makers toward another rate cut. Materials shares dropped the most in developing nations, while regional benchmark gauges were mixed. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen joined a chorus of other U.S. central bank officials saying higher rates may be warranted in the next few months.

“While a global recovery could be gaining traction, rising U.S. interest rates could draw away funds from emerging markets,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist in Manila at BDO Unibank Inc., the largest Philippine lender. “Throw in the threat of China’s economic slowdown, it’s possible that within the year emerging markets could retest the low reached in January.”

Yellen’s comments support the possibility for one to two U.S. rate increases this year, with the earliest happening in June, said Ravelas. With that uncertainty, along with the risk the U.K. could exit the European Union, investors would be wise to take money off the table, he said.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index declined 0.4 percent and is down 3 percent in May, the biggest drop since August and snapping a three-month run of gains. The won retreated 1 percent on Monday and is Asia’s worst performer this month after Malaysia’s ringgit. A measure tracking the U.S. dollar against 10 major peers climbed to the highest level since March and is on course for the steepest monthly gain since September 2014.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of shares fell 0.1 percent, taking May’s drop to 3.9 percent, the worst since January. It’s poised to end a two-month winning stretch. All of the 10 constituent industry groups bar one have declined since the end of April, with materials and energy stocks falling the most. 

Won Heads for Worst Month’s Loss Since July as Assets Lose Shine
By Jung Park

South Korea’s won headed for its worst monthly loss since July after demand for emerging-market assets waned as the Federal Reserve readies investors for another interest-rate increase.

A gauge of the dollar rose to its highest level since the end of March after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen joined a chorus of other U.S. central bank officials saying higher rates may be warranted in the next few months. Reports due this week on South Korean industrial production and exports, which have contracted for 16 straight months, will be watched to ascertain if policy makers are likely to cut borrowing costs again.

"Yellen’s comments have strengthened the case for a U.S. rate increase,” Jeon Seung Ji, an analyst at Samsung Futures Inc. in Seoul, wrote in a research note. “The market is growing more vigilant ahead of U.S. job figures, which will give hints about the plausibility of a June rate hike."

The won depreciated 0.9 percent to 1,190.32 per dollar as of 10:51 a.m. in Seoul, prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg show. The currency has dropped 4.3 percent in May, the worst performance in Asia after Malaysia’s ringgit. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major peers, is set for its biggest monthly gain since September 2014.

Bonds Fall

Asia Recession....................A Repeat of 1997 "IS" Coming and this TIME..................... 

It will end in ""Depression"" and a Political Crisis that Will LEAD to ""***WAR***""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Deepening National Antagonisms Dominate G7 Summit
By Nick Beams

Two of the major issues at the centre of global politics and economics—US-led preparations for war against China and the deepening divisions among the major powers in the face of the ongoing stagnation of the world economy—dominated the first day of the G7 summit in Japan on Thursday.

The summit meeting, which concludes Friday, is expected to issue a statement on “maritime security” in the South China Sea, where China’s territorial claims are being challenged by the US and its regional allies.

Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of the first day, a Japanese official said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led the push for the other major powers to align with the US over the conflicts in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. The leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Canada reportedly agreed that “it was necessary for the G7 to issue a strong signal.”

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on the eve of the summit, Abe asserted that “ensuring freedom of navigation”—the cynical pretext being used to justify US military incursions into Chinese-claimed waters and airspace—was both a “prerequisite for economic growth and a precondition for stability” but “regrettably not every nation recognises that.”

The stage is being set for a dramatic escalation of tensions in the wake of the G7 summit. China has already reacted strongly. A government statement declared that issues in the region had “nothing to do” with the G7 and that Beijing was “resolutely opposed” to “individual countries hyping up the South China Sea.”

Despite the moves by the G7 to issue an implicitly anti-Chinese statement, there are divisions among the major powers over policy toward Beijing, in particular from Britain. In the early months of 2015, the US sought to prevail on other major economies not to join the Chinese-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Washington’s plans were thwarted when Britain broke ranks and announced it would become a founding member of the AIIB—a move quickly followed by the other European powers. This prompted a sharp rebuke from the Obama administration over what it called Britain’s “constant accommodation” to China.

Britain decided to join the bank in the search for economic advantage, in opposition to advice from the country’s foreign policy establishment that it could jeopardise the country’s strategic relationship with the US.

The financial centre of the City of London is seeking to place itself at the centre of Chinese global financial activities. This week, the Chinese finance ministry announced it will issue Rm 3 billion ($458 million) of bonds in London’s offshore renminbi market. As the Financial Times noted, the British government has “aggressively courted” renminbi business as part of a “broad push to promote greater economic ties with China.”

Reports in the lead-up to the summit suggested that Prime Minister David Cameron would come under pressure from both the US and Japan over Britain’s stance as China’s “best partner in the West,” which cuts across their demands for an increased diplomatic and military push against Beijing.

The meeting also revealed deep divisions over measures to try to lift the world economy out of stagnation. In a bid to win support for more economic stimulus measures, especially in Europe, Abe presented a series of graphs comparing the present economic conditions to those which prevailed in 2008, which led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the global financial crisis.

Saudi Arabia’s Net Foreign Assets Fall to Four-Year Low in April
By Vivian Nereim

Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets fell for a 15th month in April, as the kingdom announced its “vision” for a post-oil future.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency said on Sunday net foreign assets declined 1.1 percent to $572 billion, the lowest level in four years. The slump in crude prices has forced the government to sell bonds and draw on its currency reserves, still among the world’s largest. Net foreign assets fell by $115 billion last year, when the kingdom ran a budget deficit of nearly $100 billion.

The fiscal crunch has pushed Saudi Arabia’s rulers to look beyond oil, consider new taxes, and plan an initial public offering of state giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sketched out the planned changes dubbed Saudi Vision 2030 on April 25. 

The Coming CORRECTION Will be the Greatest Cycle of Wealth Destruction in the History of Money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Some Democrats Pray for Clinton’s Indictment as Sanders Pushes On
By Eric Pianin

There’s no longer any doubt that the Democratic presidential contest has devolved into a blood feud as many supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders are openly praying that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be indicted for using a private email server to handle sensitive government communications during her four years at State.

As The New York Times reported over the weekend, some Sanders supporters are holding out for an “eleventh hour miracle” in the form of a federal indictment that would knock Clinton out of the contest and pave the way for a Sanders nomination.

Clinton is just 73 delegates shy of locking up the presidential nomination, even in the surprising event she narrowly loses to Sanders in the June 7th California Democratic primary. Yet the State Department Inspector General’s report last week that skewered Clinton for willfully violating departmental email protocol has fueled the Sanders campaign’s fantasy that a related FBI investigation will lead to an indictment and a quick end to Clinton’s candidacy before the July convention in Philadelphia.

“If there’s any chance of her getting indicted, they shouldn’t even consider her for the nomination,” 21-year-old Zachary O’Neill of Escondido, California, told The Times. “We can’t have a criminal in the White House.” Others offered similar views that squared with Republican attacks on Clinton’s honesty and integrity.

Even if Clinton dodges that bullet, an energized and increasingly optimistic Sanders said on Sunday that the damning IG report should give hundreds of “super delegates” cause for concern -- and reason enough to switch their allegiance at the convention from Clinton to Sanders. 

America, YOU Don't want these ASSHOLES back in the White House......................AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The elite one-percent’s ‘Orgy Island’ exposed… you won’t believe this!

Secret billionaires sex club for the wealthiest sickos: Shocking expose'
By Shepard Ambellas

LITTLE ST. JAMES, U.S. Virgin Islands (INTELLIHUB) — If you can name it — it has likely taken place this the lavish private island off the coast of Puerto Rico which boasts a beautifully landscaped plush luxury estate complete with its own helipad, privy only to certain members of the global elite.

Owned by Jeffery Epstein, a wealthy American financier and convicted sex offender, Little St. James Island appears to be somewhat of a gathering place and is a well desired hangout among key figureheads, actors and royalty to the likes of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey and even Prince Andrew.

However, the people attending the lavish residence are likely do not go there to discuss “cutting edge scientific and medical research” as the Epstein VI Foundation would like you to believe, but rather go there to experience full-on sexual encounters with underage girls as young as fourteen.

That’s right, just like a scene out of the Hollywood blockbuster film Eyes Wide Shut, starring Tom Cruise, from wild parties to prostitution, orgies and even underage sex, Little St. James reportedly has it all and is seemingly a gathering point frequented by prominent jet-setters, and it is all being exposed. The cat is out of the bag so to speak.

Back in 2005 police conducted an 11-month-long undercover investigation on Jeffery Epstein and his estate after the mother of a 14-year-old girl went to police after suspecting her daughter was paid $300 for at least one sexual act on the island in which she was ordered to strip, leaving on just her panties while giving Epstein a massage.

Although police found tons of photos of young women on the island and even interviewed eyewitnesses, Epstein was hit with a mere slap on the wrist after “pleading to a single charge of prostitution.” Epstein later served 13-months of his 18-month service in jail.

In 2008 Epstein was hit again, this time with a $50 million civil suit after another victim, a woman, made a filing in a federal court claiming that she was “recruited” by Epstein to give him a “massage” but was essentially forced into having sexual intercourse with him for $200, which was payable upon completion.

Additionally it is important to point out that Bill Clinton has been mentioned by the press often over the years — and not just for his controversial relationship with Monica Lewinsky, but rather his friendship with Jeffery Epstein.

E-fail: Hillary Clinton didn't use password to protect her PC and used unsecure personal BlackBerry to send private emails 'because she's clueless with computers'

  • Clinton would only use her personal BlackBerry for emails, staff said 
  • She had no idea how to use desktop computers provided for that purpose 
  • That posed a problem as mobile devices were banned in her suite
  • A secure room was set up next to the suite for her to use her BlackBerry in 
  • But instead she frequently just sent emails from the corridor outside
  • She also refused to use a government-provided BlackBerry
  • And she didn't have a password on her stand-alone PC, staff added 
By James Wilkinson

The ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton's alleged misuse of her family's private email account for official business might lead some to believe that she is pretty tech-savvy.

But in recent days a number of reports have emerged that suggest the the former Secretary of State is clueless when it comes to desktop computers.

In fact, she's so out of touch with modern technology that she declined to use specially set up secure computers just so she could keep using her personal BlackBerry to send emails, The Daily Caller reported. 

Everyone is Missing the Most Troubling Part About Hillary Clinton Email Audit!
By Rachel Stockman

Here is the bottom line about the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Inspector General’s Report regarding the use of email by the Secretary of State’s Office: It does not look good for Hillary. Not just in the political sense, but in the legal sense as well.  The pundits seem concerned that Clinton refused to be interviewed by OIG investigators. Sure it’s troubling, but she’s involved in a FBI investigation, and her attorneys likely advised her not to talk. That’s not the issue.

In addition, conservatives have said over and over again that the difference between Clinton’s email usage and that of former Secretary of State Colin Powell is that she had a private server. But again, the pundits are missing the point. The fact that she kept a server made it worse, but both Clinton and Powell clearly violated federal record keeping rules by not turning over copies of their emails when they left office.

“Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service, and because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the audit report said. Bottom line: Mrs. Clinton violated the Federal Records Act.

However, what is probably the most troubling about all of this is that, despite these blatant violations, there will be absolutely no legal repercussions for Mrs. Clinton for this offense. She’s off the hook! Why aren’t all the pundits screaming about that?

As‘s contributor, Dan Metcalfe, wrote about several weeks ago, anyone who violates this law (and leaves office) will face zero consequences. That’s because it is a civil law, not a criminal law, and penalties only apply to current federal employees. Employees, like Clinton and Powell, who leave office, can skirt punishment.  The Federal Records Act is in place not only to provide the American public with some level of transparency but also “to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency’s activities.”

“There are absolutely no penalties provided by law for this misconduct,” Metcalfe said. He would know, Metcalfe was the founding director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy. He was essentially  “the federal government’s chief information-disclosure ‘guru.’”

Emails Confirm Hillary Clinton Used Her State Department Role to Press Countries to Embrace Fracking

A campaign commercial that aired in upstate New York in April touted Hillary Clinton’s work as secretary of state forcing “some of the world’s worst polluters” to make “real change.” Then she promised to “stand firm with New Yorkers opposing fracking, giving communities the right to say ‘no.’ ”

Lee Fang and Steve Horn reported at The Intercept on Monday:

    The television spot, which was not announced and does not appear on the official campaign YouTube page with most of Clinton’s other ads, implied a history of opposition to fracking, here and abroad. But emails obtained by The Intercept from the Department of State reveal new details of behind-the-scenes efforts by Clinton and her close aides to export American-style hydraulic fracturing — the horizontal drilling technique best known as fracking — to countries all over the world.

    Far from challenging fossil fuel companies, the emails obtained by The Intercept show that State Department officials worked closely with private sector oil and gas companies, pressed other agencies within the Obama administration to commit federal government resources including technical assistance for locating shale reserves, and distributed agreements with partner nations pledging to help secure investments for new fracking projects.

    The documents also reveal the department’s role in bringing foreign dignitaries to a fracking site in Pennsylvania, and its plans to make Poland a “laboratory for testing whether US success in developing shale gas can be repeated in a different country,” particularly in Europe, where local governments had expressed opposition and in some cases even banned fracking.

    The campaign included plans to spread the drilling technique to China, South Africa, Romania, Morocco, Bulgaria, Chile, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Indonesia, and Ukraine.

    In 2014, Mother Jones reporter Mariah Blake used diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks and other records to uncover how Clinton “sold fracking to the world.” The emails obtained by The Intercept through a separate Freedom of Information Act request provide a new layer of detail.

Paul Craig Roberts: Killary Will Be The Last US President

As Our Past Wars Are Glorified This Memorial Day Weekend, Give Some Thought To Our Prospects Against The Russians And Chinese In World War III

The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war.

Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United States intends to attack her.

It is extraordinary to see the confidence that many Americans place in their military’s ability. After 15 years the US has been unable to defeat a few lightly armed Taliban, and after 13 years the situation in Iraq remains out of control. This is not very reassuring for the prospect of taking on Russia, much less the strategic alliance between Russia and China. The US could not even defeat China, a Third World country at the time, in Korea 60 years ago.

Americans need to pay attention to the fact that “their” government is a collection of crazed stupid fools likely to bring vaporization to the United States and all of Europe.

Russian weapons systems are far superior to American ones. American weapons are produced by private companies for the purpose of making vast profits. The capability of the weapons is not the main concern. There are endless cost overruns that raise the price of US weapons into outer space. 

Hillary.........................The Most Dangerous Woman on Planet EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

""GLOBAL WAR"" before the END of this DECADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
South Korea, THAAD, and the China Problem

Will South Korea deploy THAAD – and if so, how will China respond?
By Phillip Schrank

Many questions have yet to be answered regarding the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea. It has been widely reported that discussions regarding deployment have been underway since early March 2016 but after initial hopes of a quick resolution, no end to the discussions seems to be in sight. What will South Korea do? They ultimately have the choice to deploy or not deploy. Their choice will have wide ranging ramifications no matter what they choose.

According to South Korea, the most important issue is security. Everything said publicly thus far has pointed to the fact that South Korea views the North’s ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities as a true security threat. If this were not the case, they would not be potentially ruining their hard-won good relations with China, a relationship which Chinese President Xi Jinping has called the best in history.

What will China do if South Korea decides to deploy THAAD? China has vehemently opposed deployment and even stated through its ambassador to South Korea, Qiu Guohong, that the China-South Korea relationship would be “destroyed in an instant” and “take a long time to recover” if the system is deployed as planned. At the heart of China’s opposition is the worry that THAAD will be used against it, despite reassurances from the United States that it would not be. The U.S. even offered to hold discussions with China to help dispel those fears, but the offer has not been accepted.

For its part, the United States is in a good position. Beside South Korea, Japan has considered deploying THAAD. The question for Washington is what, if any, repercussions would exist if South Korea decided against deploying THAAD on its soil. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter seemed confident in April when he noted that it was going to happen. Regarding the push-back from China, he noted that the United States has a responsibility to protect not only its own troops stationed in Korea, but also South Korea as its ally.

So, what can we expect in the future? First, what will South Korea do? While we can only speculate on the course of action South Korea will take, we can analyze the situation through international relations theory. 

Reports: North Korea Is Preparing for Missile Launch

Japanese and South Korean officials say the have detected signs that North Korea is possibly planning for a ballistic missile launch.

Japanese broadcaster NHK said the government has put its military on alert for a possible launch. Japan has also ordered its naval destroyers to shoot down any projectiles that threaten its territory.

A South Korean defense official said Seoul is maintaining 'combat readiness.'

Officials did not specify the missile type but reports say it is likely to be a intermediate-range Musudan missile, similar to one the North unsuccessfully tried to test launch three times in April.

The missile reportedly has a range of 3,000-4,000 kilometers which, if fired successfully, could reach targets in Japan, China and Guam.

The Musudan is based on an old Soviet submarine launch ballistic missile design that the North converted to be fired from a mobile land-based launcher.

Japan military on alert, prepared to intercept possible North Korean missile

There have been activities indicating Pyongyang is preparing a ballistic missile launch, possibly an intermediate-range Musudan missile, in the eastern part of North Korea facing the Sea of Japan

Kyodo Reuters

Defence Minister Gen Nakatani ordered the Self-Defence Forces on Monday to prepare to intercept a possible North Korean missile, a government source said while South Korea also said it had detected evidence of launch preparations, officials from Japan and South Korea said.

Following the order, the SDF deployed the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 surface-to-air guided interceptors on the premises of the Defence Ministry in central Tokyo and step up surveillance activities, the source said.

The order comes after a separate government source said Monday there have been activities indicating Pyongyang is preparing a ballistic missile launch, possibly an intermediate-range Musudan missile, in the eastern part of North Korea facing the Sea of Japan.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff also suggested on Monday evening there are indications that the North may launch a missile, saying it is closely tracking any missile-related signs and maintaining a high state of readiness.

“We’ve detected a sign and are tracking that. We are fully prepared,” said a South Korean official, who declined to be identified. 

North Korea................The ""Ticking Time BOMB"" of Asia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

China lashes out at US defense secretary criticisms

BEIJING (AP) -- China on Monday lashed out at criticism from U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, accusing him of harboring a Cold War mentality and saying Beijing has no interest in "playing a role in a Hollywood movie" of Washington's design.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters Carter's comment last week that China was creating a "Great Wall of self-isolation" was merely an attempt to provide cover for U.S. plans to deploy additional military forces to the Asia-Pacific region.

Carter's remarks "laid bare the stereotypical U.S. thinking and U.S. hegemony," Hua said at a daily news briefing.

"Indeed, there are some in the U.S. who live physically in the 21st century, but whose minds are stuck in the in the Cold War era," she said.

"China has no interest in any form of Cold War, nor are we interested in playing a role in a Hollywood movie written and directed by certain U.S. military officials. However, China has no fear of and will counter any actions that threaten and undermine China's sovereignty and security," Hua said.

In a commencement speech Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy, Carter said China wants and enjoys the benefits of free trade and a free internet, but sometimes chooses to restrict both. He said the U.S. also continues to be concerned about Beijing's actions in the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing has sought to strengthen its claim to almost the entire region by building new islands atop coral outcroppings and adding airstrips, harbors and military infrastructure. 

Doing the THINGS Needed to Prepare for WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Regional powers take steps as China’s military eyes global reach
By Salman Raf

China is in the process of setting up military bases or deep-water ports in Asia and Africa to expand its influence. This is creating a geo-strategic situation that may lead to increased militarization of the less developed and politically unstable areas in the region

Despite its ‘non-interference’ rhetoric, China is planning to set up own military bases in Asia and Africa to expand its sphere of influence as a world power.

Pakistan, its old ally, is basking in China’s glory by allowing it indirect reach into political and strategic policy-making circles (read: Pakistan to deploy additional force in Baluchistan to provide security to Chinese establishments).

Moving one step forward from its traditional ‘investment only’ programs, China’s top political leadership has decided to introduce China’s military globally through overseas deployments as a means to protect the billion-dollar investments it has been making for the past three decades.

While this is how Chinese officials explain the prospective and under-construction overseas military bases, some — especially  its competitors — see in it a basic policy shift towards projecting China as a global military power, capable of quickly responding to any security threat.

While the official terminology being used for the base under-construction in Djibouti is “support facilities”, this establishment, which has clear strategic underpinnings, is likely to transform the region’s geo-politics. 

South China Sea fears grow before tribunal rules on disputed islands

China already says it will reject ruling, fanning west’s fears of construction surge in islands and reefs in busy trade route
By Julian Borger

Fears are growing that there will be a sharp rise in tensions in the South China Sea in the next few weeks after an international tribunal delivers a ruling on disputed islands and reefs that Beijing has said it will reject.

Western officials say they fear China will react to the ruling of the international tribunal for the law of the sea, which is expected to side with the Philippines, by raising the stakes in the busy trade route, expanding its land reclamation and construction activities to reefs in the Scarborough Shoal, close to Manila.

The White House is under pressure from the top US commander in the Pacific and some in Congress to take a tougher line with Beijing and carry out more military patrols close to China’s fortified islands, where there have already been close encounters between ships and planes from the two rival powers.

Beijing, which argues the tribunal has no jurisdiction on the matter, has warned the US against escalating the conflict, saying it will defend itself if necessary.

“Of course, when the ruling comes out our friends in Philippines and in the United States will preach that the tribunal has binding power, and that China must obey the result. But surely we will be firm in saying that the results are illegal, that the tribunal has no binding power and China will not accept the ruling,” said Liu Zhenmin, the Chinese deputy foreign minister who has been a lead negotiator on the issue.

“The US knows about its own history in south-east Asia. We will oppose the US if it stirs up any conflict in south-east Asia. But if scenarios of the Korean war or Vietnam war are replayed we will have to defend ourselves.”

US Naval, Air Maneuvers Become 'New Normal' in Asia Pacific
By Lolita C. Baldo

American ships and fighter jets maneuvering across the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan represent the "new normal" in U.S.-Pacific relations despite rising tensions with China and Moscow.

U.S. moves in recent months have led to angry protests from China and Russia, which contend the Obama administration is fueling unrest in the Asia Pacific and conducting illegal and unsafe transit in the region. U.S. military leaders defend the operations and say they will continue to exercise freedom of navigation, and may do so more frequently as time goes on.

The escalating rhetoric reflects efforts by China and Russia to show military superiority in an increasingly crowded and competitive part of the world. And it sets up a tense game of political brinksmanship as leaders from the two countries and the U.S. thrust and parry across the military and diplomatic fields of play.

The military maneuvers have shadowed President Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia," a decision early in his tenure to try to focus the relationship with Pacific partners on economics and trade.

"We're at a moment when China, Iran and Russia are all testing us, engaging in reckless behavior and forcing policy makers with the question of how far we push and when," said Derek Chollet, a former assistant defense secretary for international affairs and now a senior adviser at the German Marshall Fund. "We're for freedom of navigation and following the rules, and to an extent we are pushing back against changing the rules."

Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, said that for the first time in 25 years, the U.S. is facing competition for maritime superiority as China and Russia build up their navies.

The Plan Taiwan Needs to Defend against China


What Tsai Ing-wen should be reading this weekend.
By J. Michael Cole

After eight years of relative calm in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan turned a page in its history on May 20, when Tsai Ing-wen of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party was sworn in as president. While it may be premature to argue that the cross-Strait relationship has now entered a new, and possibly more conflict-prone, era under Tsai, we must nevertheless keep in mind that the military option to impose unification was never obviated by Beijing, and that as its power grows that option may look increasingly inevitable. Therefore, as the Tsai administration performs the onerous act of balancing between stability in the Taiwan Strait and meeting the expectations of its China-wary citizens, it must continue to prepare against the eventuality that China could resort to force of arms to break the status quo.

Although not exhaustive, the following discussion looks at a number of areas that will be key to Taiwan’s ability to defend itself against external aggression in the coming years. This article, moreover, takes it for granted that Taiwan has experienced and internalized a doctrinal transformation whereby victory in the military sense no longer implies the defeat, if not annihilation, of its opponent, but rather focuses primarily on countering limiting scenarios while strengthening its deterrent capability against more escalatory measures by its opponent. In other words, Taiwan realizes it could not possibly challenge the People’s Liberation Army symmetrically and expect to emerge victorious; instead, the main aim of its national defense strategy is—or should be—to ensure that Beijing does not resort to force in the first place.

Defense Secretary Discusses Concerns in South China Sea
By Brian Witte

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- China could be erecting "a Great Wall of self-isolation" with its increasingly provocative moves against its neighbors, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Friday.

Carter focused on the Asia-Pacific region during his commencement speech at the U.S. Naval Academy. Carter said China wants and enjoys the benefits of free trade and a free Internet, but sometimes chooses to restrict both.

"The result is that China's actions could erect a great wall of self-isolation as countries across the region — allies, partners and the unaligned — are voicing concerns publicly and privately at the highest levels, regional meetings and global forums," Carter said. "Such a model reflects the region's distant past, rather than the principled future we all want for the Asian-Pacific."

China has sought to strengthen its claim to almost the entire South China Sea by building new islands atop coral outcroppings and adding airstrips, harbors and military infrastructure.

The U.S. government refuses to recognize these features as having the same legal claim to naturally occurring islands, and while taking no formal position on sovereignty claims, insists that all nations enjoy the right to freely sail and fly through the strategically vital area.

The United States is committed to upholding the freedom of navigation and commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes, Carter said.

"We're committed to ensuring that these core principles apply equally in the South China Seas as they do everywhere else," he said. "Only by ensuring that everyone plays by the same rules can we avoid the mistakes of the past where countries challenged one another in contests of strength and will with disastrous consequences."

Defense Expert Kazianis: Chinese Military Upgrades Cause for Worry
By Greg Richter

The recent announcement that China is deploying nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines is alarming, writes Harry J. Kazianis a Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Center for the National Interest, at The Daily Signal.

Yes, Kazianis notes, the United States developed such technology in the 1950s, but the Chinese aren't simply playing catch-up.
"Indeed, China’s development of nuclear submarines is part of a bigger, more worrying trend," he writes. "The creation of a truly modern military that, in many respects, aims to defeat America’s armed forces if conflict were ever to occur."

Even more frightening, he says, Beijing looks to be getting close to developing cutting-edges weapons systems that seem like science fiction.

Among China's projects:

South China Sea Controversy: Beijing To Send Nuclear Weapons To Disputed Region Amid US Military Tensions
By Jess McHugh

China will send nuclear weapons to patrol the South China Sea amid rising tensions with the U.S. over the disputed region, the Guardian reported Thursday. The area has become a point of contention between the U.S. and China, as Beijing claims it has sovereignty over the zone. The U.S. says the area is in international waters until competing land claims from neighboring countries are resolved.

Beijing is expected to send submarines equipped with nuclear missiles to patrol the region after working on the technology for ballistic missile submarines for nearly three decades. However, Chinese military authorities did not say when exactly these nuclear patrols would begin.

“Because China’s SSBNs [nuclear missile submarines] are in the South China Sea, the U.S. navy will try to send spy ships in there and get close to the SSBNs. China’s navy hates that and will try to push them away,” Wu Riqiang, an associate professor at the School of International Studies at the Renmin University in Beijing, told the Guardian.

China has submitted a vast land claim over the region and sought to bolster that claim by building artificial islands in the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands. While the islands are small and mostly unpopulated, they sit in the middle of popular trade routes and could also contain precious natural resources. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, have also submitted competing claims over some part of the region.

China reportedly will send nuclear-armed submarines to patrol Pacific

The Chinese military reportedly is planning to send submarines armed with nuclear weapons to patrol the Pacific Ocean for the first time amid territorial disputes over islands in the region.

The Guardian, citing Chinese military officials, said that while the timing for a maiden patrol has not yet been determined, Beijing insists that such an action is inevitable.

The report comes days after U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he had lifted a decades-long arms embargo against Vietnam. Chinese officials publicly praised the move, but an opinion piece in a state-run newspaper warned that any attempt to enlist Vietnam in an effort to contain China "bodes ill for regional peace and stability, as it would further complicate the situation in the South China Sea, and risk turning the region into a tinderbox of conflicts."

China's March Towards Military Dominance in the South China Sea
By Dean Cheng

There is a lot going on in Southeast Asia. The United States has conducted another freedom of navigation operation in the area of several disputed islands. The American Aegis destroyer USS William P. Lawrence sailed within 12 nautical miles of the artificial Chinese island built atop Fiery Cross Reef.

Because Fiery Cross Reef began as a “high tide elevation (HTE),” (meaning: a rock) it is entitled to a 12 nautical mile zone of territorial waters.

The United States therefore chose to conduct an “innocent passage,” sailing across the 12 nautical mile zone with its radars off, helicopter grounded, and weapons aimed fore-and-aft. Its main challenge to the Chinese was conducting its passage without giving the People’s Republic of China prior notification.

So, the administration continues to conduct freedom of navigation operations at a desultory pace, with nearly five months intervening since the last operation.

The administration continues to try and avoid outright challenging China’s claims.

Thus, it conducts “innocent passage” near HTEs (rocks and islands that legitimately project a 12 nm territorial water zone), rather than freedom of navigation activities near places like Subi Reef and Mischief Reef (where China has also built airstrips), which, as low-tide elevations (LTEs), cannot legally claim any territorial waters.

This freedom of navigation operation occurs in the shadow of recent elections in the Philippines. The winner, Rodrigo Duterte, has talked about approaching the PRC for its own deal.

Like President Obama when he first took office in 2009, Duterte wants to offer China an “open hand.” He has indicated he is willing to engage in direct bilateral talks with the Chinese government on resolving their mutual claims to the South China Sea.

What steps he might take in this regard remain uncertain, especially as the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague is expected to issue a finding in the next few months. It also raises questions about how far the newly revived US-Philippines military cooperation efforts will now extend.

China Military!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
The Source of Failure: We Optimize What We Measure
By Charles Smith
May 30, 2016

Rather than measure consumption and metrics that incentivize debt, what if we measure well-being and opportunities offered in our communities?

The problems we face cannot be fixed with policy tweaks and minor reforms. Yet policy tweaks and minor reforms are all we can manage when the pie is shrinking and every vested interest is fighting to maintain their share of the pie.

Our failure stems from a much deeper problem: we optimize what we measure. If we measure the wrong things, and focus on measuring process rather than outcome, we end up with precisely what we have now: a set of perverse incentives that encourage self-destructive behaviors and policies.

The process of selecting which data is measured and recorded carries implicit assumptions with far-reaching consequences. If we measure "growth" in terms of GDP but not well-being, we lock in perverse incentives to boost 'growth" even at the cost of what really matters, i.e. well-being.

If we reward management with stock options, management has a perverse incentive to borrow money for stock buy-backs that push the share price higher, even if doing so is detrimental to the long-term health of the company.

Humans naturally optimize what is being measured and identified as important.

If students’ grades are based on attendance, attendance will be high. If doctors are told cholesterol levels are critical and the threshold of increased risk is 200, they will strive to lower their patients’ cholesterol level below 200.

If we accept that growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) is the measure of prosperity, politicians will pursue the goal of GDP expansion.

If rising consumption is the key component of GDP, we will be encouraged to go buy a new truck when the economy weakens, whether we need a new truck or not.

If profits are identified as the key driver of managers’ bonuses, managers will endeavor to increase net profits by whatever means are available.

The problem with choosing what to measure is that the selection can generate counterproductive or even destructive incentives.

This is the result of humanity’s highly refined skill in assessing risk and return. All creatures have been selected over the eons to recognize the potential for a windfall that doesn’t require much work to reap. 

Here's Why All Pension Funds Are Doomed, Doomed, Doomed
By Charles Smith
May 27, 2016

There are limits on what the Fed can do when this bubble bursts, as it inevitably will, as surely as night follows day.

It's no secret that virtually every pension fund is dead man walking, doomed by central banks' imposition of low yields on safe investments, i.e. Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP).

Given that both The Economist and The Wall Street Journal have covered the impossibility of pension funds achieving their expected returns, this reality cannot be a surprise to anyone in a leadership role.

Many unhappy returns: Pension funds and endowments are too optimistic

Public Pension Funds Roll Back Return Targets: Few managers count on returns of 8%-plus a year anymore; governments scramble to make up funding 

Public Pensions...........America's Taxpayers have NO Idea how Totally SCREWED they are going to be by the END of this DECADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Losing Ground In Flyover America, Part 1
By David Stockman

The cowardly dithering in the Eccles Building is sucking Wall Street punters into a vortex. And it promises to be the mother of all bubble implosions.

There is no other possible outcome for a stock market that is trading at 24X reported earnings in the teeth of the most enormous headwinds ever accumulated.

The intensifying global deflation/recession lapping upon these shores gets more ominous by the day. Yet that’s only the half of it.

When you take an unvarnished look at the domestic economy, the real recessionary skunk in the woodpile becomes apparent. Yet the casino is falsely capitalizing earnings as if recessions have been outlawed and the nirvana of Keynesian full-employment has become a permanent condition, world without end.

Today’s bubblevision meme that all is well because the Fed judges the economy to be strong enough to absorb 1% money market rates some time next year is just a manifestation of that permanent full employment delusion. After all, earnings always collapse during a recession—–so implicitly there is not one in sight as far as the eye can see.

Then again, why would anyone credit the Fed’s insight into the future, or even its grasp of the present? In its April minutes, for example, it noted that the world financial dangers that caused it to pause in March have now eased.

No they haven’t. As detailed below, the only thing that changed is that China went through another flash bubble in the commodity space that is already done and gone.

In fact, the Fed has never, ever anticipated a recession——even when we were in month 118 of the 1990s technology and dotcom bubble.

Likewise, it had no clue that the housing collapse was coming and was shocked by the September 2008 Wall Street meltdown. And now it has had to revise sharply lower every single GDP forecast it has made in the years since the crisis. 

Losing Ground In Flyover America, Part 2
By David Stockman

There has never been a more destructive central banking policy than the Fed’s current maniacal quest to stimulate more inflation and more debt. That’s what is killing real wages and economic vitality in flyover America—-even as it showers prodigious windfalls of unearned wealth on Wall Street and the bicoastal elites who draft on the nation’s vastly inflated finances.

In fact, the combination of pumping-up inflation toward 2% and hammering-down interest rates to the so-called zero bound is economically lethal. The former destroys the purchasing power of main street wages while the latter strip mines capital from business and channels it into Wall Street financial engineering and the inflation of stock prices.

In the case of the 2% inflation target, even if it was good for the general economy, which it most assuredly is not, it’s a horrible curse on flyover America. That’s because its nominal pay levels are set on the margin by labor costs in the export factories of China and the EM and the service sector outsourcing shops in India and its imitators.

Accordingly, wage earners actually need zero or even negative CPI’s to maximize the value of pay envelopes constrained by global competition. Indeed, in a world where the global labor market is deflating wage levels, the last thing main street needs is a central bank fanatically seeking to pump up the cost of living.

So why do the geniuses domiciled in the Eccles Building not see something that obvious?

The short answer is they are trapped in a 50-year old intellectual time warp that presumes that the US economy is more or less a closed system. Call it the Keynesian bathtub theory of macroeconomics and you have succinctly described the primitive architecture of the thing.

According to this fossilized worldview, monetary policy must drive interest rates ever lower in order to elicit more borrowing and aggregate spending. And then authorities must rinse and repeat this monetary “stimulus” until the bathtub of “potential GDP” is filled up to the brim.

Moreover, as the economy moves close to the economic bathtub’s brim or full employment GDP, labor allegedly becomes scarcer, thereby causing employers to bid up wage rates. Indeed, at full employment and 2% inflation wages will purportedly rise much faster than consumer prices, permitting real wage rates to rise and living standards to increase.

Except it doesn’t remotely work that way because the US economy is blessed with a decent measure of free trade in goods and services and virtually no restrictions on the flow of capital and short-term financial assets. That is, the Fed can’t fill up the economic bathtub with aggregate demand because it functions in a radically open system where incremental demand is as likely to be satisfied by off-shore goods and services as by domestic production.

This leakage through the bathtub’s side portals into the global economy, in turn, means that the Fed’s 2% inflation and full employment quest can’t cause domestic wage rates to rev-up, either. Incremental demands for labor hours, on the margin, are as likely to be met from the rice paddies of China as the purportedly diminishing cue of idle domestic workers.

Indeed, there has never been a theory so wrong-headed. And yet the financial commentariat, which embraces the Fed’s misbegotten bathtub economics model hook, line and sinker, disdains Donald Trump because his economic ideas are allegedly so primitive! 

Losing Ground In Flyover America, Part 3
By David Stockman

As we indicated in Part 2, the Fed’s crusade to pump-up inflation toward its 2.00% target by hammering-down interest rates to the so-called zero bound is economically lethal. The former destroys the purchasing power of main street wages while the latter strip mines capital from business and channels it into Wall Street financial engineering and the inflation of stock prices.

In the case of America’s 80 million working age adults (25 or over) with a high school education or less, the Fed’s double whammy has been catastrophic. As we demonstrated yesterday, the employment-to-population ratio for this group has plummeted from 60% prior to the great recession to about 54% today.

In round terms this means that the number of job holders in that pool of the less educated has shrunk from 49.4 million to 43.5 million since early 2007. That’s nearly 6 million workers gone missing or 12% of the total from just nine years ago.

And as we documented yesterday this plunge is not due to aging demographics. The MSM meme that it’s all about the baby boomers hanging up their spikes doesn’t wash; the labor force participation rate of persons over 65 has actually increased sharply in recent years.  

Another Real Estate Crash Is Coming: Legendary Market Timer Unloads His Positions: “They’ve Sold Deferred Reality For So Long…”
By Mac Slavo

If you haven’t heard yet, median home prices in the United States are on a tear having reached all-time highs in April. To boot, rental prices have gone insane, showing a year-over-year inflationary increase of 8%. On top of that, stock markets are rocketing back to their own all time highs based on the premise that the U.S. economy is seeing healthy growth. By all official accounts, it appears that we’re back on track.

But appearances can be deceiving and highly acclaimed investment guru Sam Zell isn’t buying the hype. In fact, he’s taking this opportunity to sell… in a very big way.

Wolf Richter explains: 

Sam Zell 

Last Time this Happened, the Housing Market Collapsed
By Wolf Richter

The most expensive home listed for sale globally is in Bel Air, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. Its main house is a 74,000-square-foot monstrosity. Among the special attributes: a 30-car garage. The compound, being erected by speculative builder Nile Niami, has an asking price of $500 million.

Seven of the world’s 10 most expensive listings are in the US. Four of them are in Los Angeles, including lesser abodes, such as a 38,000-square-foot mansion with a 5,300-square-foot master suite, several guesthouses, and staff housing, for $150 million.

Other countries have cool stuff for sale too, such as Pierre Cardin’s 13,000-square-foot “Le Palais Bulles” (“the Bubble Palace”) on the French Riviera, listed for about $450 million.

More supply of speculative super-homes is coming, including this gem, according to the New York Times: “Real estate agents and developers say a home under construction in Bel Air is likely to have more than 50,000 square feet of living space” and “the world’s largest safe.” It will be listed for “around $300 million.”

For the first time ever, there are now officially 27 residences listed for sale globally with price tags above $100 million, according to Christie’s International Real Estate. That’s up 42% from last year, and up 125% from 2014!

Some super-priced homes are offered only privately, rather than through public channels, to avoid the hoopla that this sort of QE-wealth-effect creation brings. “Brokers say,” according to the Times, that with those “whisper listings,” the total “could easily top 40 or 50.”

But last year, only two homes in that 9-figure price category actually sold, according to Christie’s: a house in Hong Kong acquired by Alibaba’s Jack Ma for $193 million, just as Hong Kong’s housing bubble has begun to implode; and a townhouse in London that went for $132 million. In 2014, only five sold. In the prior three years combined, only eight sold. And now there are perhaps over 50 for sale….

How did we get here? Seven years of global QE and wealth effect, instigated by Ben Bernanke. 

A Worrisome Pileup of $100 Million Homes

One of the latest symbols of the overinflated luxury housing market is a pink mansion perched above the Mediterranean on the French Riviera.

The 13,000-square-foot property, built and owned by the fashion magnate Pierre Cardin, is composed of giant terra cotta orbs arranged in a sprawling hive. The home’s name befits its price. “Le Palais Bulles,” or “the Bubble Palace,” is being offered for sale at approximately $450 million.

The listing is part of a global pileup of homes listed for $100 million or more. A record 27 properties with nine-figure prices are officially for sale, according to Christie’s International Real Estate. That is up from 19 last year and about a dozen in 2014.

If you add in high-priced “whisper listings” that are offered privately, brokers say the actual number of nine-figure listings worldwide could easily top 40 or 50.


Rising home prices create economic displacement in San Francisco area

Commutes getting worse, middle class forced out
By Kelsey Ramírez

Economic displacement has become a growing problem in the Bay Area, and is credited mainly to job growth and lack of new homes, according to Pro Teck’s Home Value Forecast. 

Over the last five years, about 500,000 jobs have been added to the Bay Area, and housing inventory has continued to dwindle, according to the report. Of course, that has caused the already limited supply of housing to shoot up. The average home price in the metro is about $1.2 million, and rising.

The rich got 74 percent richer, while you and everyone else lost money
By Liz Weston

People are angry. Voters demanding change have helped make Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee for president and fueled Bernie Sanders’ ferocious challenge to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But what are they angry about? Ask and you’ll hear about Washington gridlock, Wall Street greed, trade, stagnant pay, immigration. To me one huge factor is obvious when you look at the chart below. It shows how much wealth has been lost — at least among those who weren’t rich to begin with.

The end of the American Dream
By: Simon Wilson

The middle class in America is in crisis, with incomes falling and life expectancy worsening. Why? And what can be done about it? Simon Wilson reports.

What’s it like to be a middle-class American?

Increasingly precarious, it seems. In an article entitled “The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans” in this month’s issue of The Atlantic, the writer Neal Gabler – an author, film critic and academic – came out as one of the many millions of apparently middle-class Americans who are in fact living in a “more or less continual state of financial peril” – scrabbling around to make ends meet, and mostly failing.

Gabler draws attention to a regular survey by the Federal Reserve, which asks consumers a set of questions, including how they would pay for a $400 emergency. “The answer: 47% of respondents said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all”, writes Gabler. “Four hundred dollars! Who knew? Well, I knew. I knew because I am in that 47%.”

Does the data support this?

U.S. Housing......................Now comes the CORRECTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The American MIDDLE Class has been Totally SCREWED by Obama and the Federal Reserve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Japan's ""***DEBT to GDP***"" IS about to become so LARGE it Will LEAD to the Total Collapse of the Japanese Economy when the BoJ IS the Only Buy of NEW DEBT. To ALL Japanese ""Lab Rats"" who have Deposits in Japanese Banks, SELL Your YEN and BUY GOLD, Silver or U.S. Dollars because the YEN "IS" heading for Record LOWS against the U.S. Dollar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Falling Population, Growth And Prices
By James Saft

It may be time to question our common faith that the only natural and acceptable path is growth: for population, for prices and for the economy itself.

From central bank inflation targets to almost all reporting on and analysis of the economy, this assumption is built into our view of the world.

With population shrinking in Japan, close to topping out in China and with birth rates in Italy, for example, now at their lowest in its history as a modern state, growth of all sorts may be scarce, leaving us in need of a better way to frame the problem.

The question may not be how to get growth, but how best to live without it, even if that brings phenomena like falling prices, or deflation.

Take the example of Japan, which has spent decades in an increasingly expensive and acrobatic attempt to battle recession and deflation.

The textbook argument justifying all of the deficit spending and quantitative easing Japan has used as weapons against deflation is that falling prices make people defer consumption and can thus bring on a self-perpetuating cycle of shrinking prices and economic output.

Stephen Jen, a hedge fund manager and economist of SLJ Macro Partners, takes issue with this, pointing out that while Japanese GDP growth since its labor force peaked in 2000 has trailed almost all industrialized nations, output measured per worker adjusted for the purchasing power of the yen has grown at a more robust rate than in countries like Germany, New Zealand and Canada.

In other words, Japan started off well-to-do and, in terms of what individual workers can buy, has only gotten richer, all while cycling in and out of mild recessions and mild deflation.

"Does Japan need to grow? Our answer is ´No,´" Jen and colleague Joana Freire write in a note to clients. 

Japan Is First To Panic; Won’t Be The Last
By: John Rubino

The most widely-reported result of the recent G-7 meeting was Japan’s attempt to convince the other major economies to admit that a crisis is imminent and take appropriately radical steps. The response seems to have been a bunch of blank stares. As India’s Business Standard noted:

    G7 pact offers minimal cover for Abenomics reset
    A Group of Seven compromise offers minimal cover for Shinzo Abe. The Japanese prime minister’s plan to revitalize the world’s third-largest economy needs fresh impetus. Abe didn’t get as much international backing as he might have liked from hosting the rich nations’ club. But, the summit communique can, just about, be spun his way.

    Abe’s counterparts, understandably, do not share his view that the world risks another Lehman Brothers-style financial crisis. That is important because Abe has inexplicably committed to raising the country’s sales tax next April, a surefire way to choke off recovery – unless a shock of this scale emerges.

So Japan — which, remember, has already borrowed eye-popping amounts of money, increased its central bank balance sheet by more as a percent of GDP than have either the Fed or ECB, and pushed interest rates on most of its government bonds into negative territory, all to no avail — has decided to act on its (manifestly justified) sense of panic by starting a new round of deficit spending:

Japan Retail Sales Decline for Fifth Time in Six Months
By Sam Baurgi

Retail trade in Japan declined for a second consecutive month in April and the fifth time in the past six months, lending further credence to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to delay a planned sales tax increase until October 2019.

Japanese retail sales declined 0.8% in April from a year earlier, following a 1% annualized decline the previous month that was originally reported as a 1.1% drop, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported on Monday. A median estimate of economists projected a decline of 1.2% year-over-year.

Retail sales – a proxy for consumer spending – are declining at a time of great uncertainty for the Japanese economy. Japan barely avoided recession in the first quarter, but has fallen back into deflation, stoking fears that the government is running out of options to stimulate the economy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told finance leaders at last week’s Group of Seven summit that Tokyo would leverage” all policy tools” to promote growth and investment in the economy. This includes, among other things, delaying a planned sales tax hike.

According to an anonymous government source, the Japanese leader reportedly told members of his Cabinet on Saturday that he would delay the tax hike by two-and-a-half years to avoid suppressing consumer spending. Mr. Abe’s last tax hike in 2014 dragged down consumer spending and pushed the Japanese economy into recession. 

Abe tells party official Japan will delay tax hike by two-and-a-half years
TOKYO | By Sumio Ito

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would delay a sales tax hike scheduled for next April by two and a half years, a senior ruling party official said after a meeting with the premier on Monday.

"The premier's determination to postpone the tax increase seems to be very strong," Masahiko Komura, vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters.

Komura's comments confirm what sources had told Reuters on Sunday as Abe looks to avoid dealing a hammer blow to a fragile economic recovery, with the announcement on the tax decision expected ahead of an upper house election expected in July.

But Finance Minister Taro Aso has voiced opposition, saying that Abe should dissolve the lower house of parliament and call a snap election if he were to postpone the tax hike.

Toshiro Nikai, another senior LDP official who met Abe on Monday, said the premier did not appear to have any plan to call a snap election for the time being.

Abe is meeting senior LDP and coalition party officials on Monday to gain consent for his plan to delay the tax increase.

He is expected to formally announce the tax hike delay by the end of the current session of parliament on Wednesday, government officials have told Reuters.

""LAB RATS"" of Europe.............Draghi and HIS Bullshit Version of ""QE"" IS Screwing YOU Blind and Will FAIL leading to the Worse RECESSION Since the END of World WAR II!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Negative Rates Fail to Spur Investment for Corporate Europe
By Niklas Magnusson

A prolonged period of negative interest rates is failing to revive investment at Europe’s companies, with the vast majority of businesses in the region saying the stimulus measures have had no affect at all on their growth plans.

Some 84 percent of the 9,440 companies surveyed by Swedish debt collector Intrum Justitia AB for its European Payment Report 2016 say low interest rates haven’t affected their willingness to invest. And perhaps more alarmingly, the number is up from 73 percent last year.

“Creating economic growth requires stability and optimism,” Intrum Justitia Chief Executive Officer Mikael Ericson said in the report. “Evidently, the strategy of keeping interest rates record low for more than a year has not created the much sought-after stability.”

Signs of stalling investment mark a blow to central banks hoping to revive growth across Europe through negative rates and quantitative easing. Europe needs its businesses to invest more if it’s to create the jobs needed to spur growth. In the euro area, where interest rates have been negative since mid-2014, gross domestic product will slow to 1.6 percent this year, compared with 2.3 percent in the U.S., the European Commission estimates.

“A calculation of an investment includes assumptions of the future,” Intrum said. “To get the calculation to go together those assumptions need to include a belief in stability and prosperity in that future. Perhaps the negative interest rates do not signal that stability at all -- rather that we are still in an extraordinary situation?” 

China Sends Yellen Another Warning, Fixes Yuan At Lowest In Over Five years

We got an early hint of what the PBOC would do tonight on Friday and Saturday, when as we reported, an unprecedented volume burst of bitcoin buying out of China, sent the digital currency soaring to the highest level since 2014.

To be sure, we had expected sailing would not be smooth for the FX market, when on Friday afternoon, after Yellen's' unexpectedly hawkish comments at Harvard, which sent the USD surging, we predicted a stormy sea for the Monday Yuan fix: 

Goldman Sees End of Yuan ‘Sweet Spot’ Spurring Capital Outflows

The end of a temporary sweet spot that China enjoyed with its exchange rate -- strength versus the dollar and weakness against trading partners -- will spur renewed capital outflows, Goldman Sachs/Gao Hua Securities Co. said.

With the U.S. poised to raise interest rates and pressure building on China to ease monetary policy, cash outflows will accelerate, said Song Yu, China economist for Goldman Sachs/Gao Hua. The yuan is down 1.3 percent this month against the greenback, with policy makers last week setting the currency’s daily fixing at the weakest level in five years, and is little changed against a basket of peers.

The yuan’s retreat has investors and analysts watching for any repeat of the turmoil ignited by a surprise devaluation in August, which spurred an estimated $1 trillion in annual capital outflows, or the volatility in January that roiled global markets. Increasing outflows will fail to spark the same alarm this time round because the People’s Bank of China has many policy tools to manage the depreciation, Song said.

“The government is likely to resort to what they did in the second half of last year and earlier this year, which is adding more curbs and stepping up regulation of fund flows,” Beijing-based Song said in a May 26 interview. “But this is very much like a game of a cat trying to catch the rats -- whenever the government manages to block a hole through which capital leaks out, people can always dig another hole to bring the money out over time." 

Chinese Central Bank Denounces Currency Reports By Western Media

SHANGHAI — China’s central bank lashed out at international media, and denied reports it has abandoned market-based fixing of the Chinese yuan exchange rate, or is planning to ask the U.S. Federal Reserve for advance information about possible rises in U.S. interest rates.

The comments by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), in a strongly worded statement on its official Chinese social media account Friday, follow reports earlier this week by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News. The former reported that Beijng had, in January, stepped back from reforms allowing market forces to play a greater role in setting the rate of the yuan, fearing currency instability amid market speculation about a major devaluation. Bloomberg, meanwhile, said the PBOC would seek information from the Fed about whether it planned to raise rates – something that would likely lead to further depreciation of the yuan – during a China-U.S. economic dialogue next month.

In its post on social media site Sina Weibo, however, the PBOC denounced these reports as a “fabrication” and said they had “misled readers and misled market sentiment.”

“We condemn such irresponsible actions, which contravene professional ethics of journalism, and reserve the right to pursue relevant responsibility through legal channels,” it said, adding: “The People’s Bank of China has always maintained its [policy] direction of market-oriented reforms, strengthening the floating of the RMB in both directions, and preserving the basic stability of the RMB exchange rate at a reasonable and balanced level.”

The unusually strong-worded criticism, and even rarer threat to take legal action, are a sign of official sensitivity in China over the yuan exchange rate. Anxiety over the issue has been high since August last year, when the PBOC abruptly announced that it was devaluing the currency by some 3 percent against the U.S. dollar over two days — the first such devaluation after many years in which the yuan had been closely pegged to the dollar.

China Capital Outflows...........It's ONLY going to get Worse from HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Skewed Data Hides Structural Problems in the Chinese Economy

Xiang Songzuo, chief Economist of the Agricultural Bank of China, raises a 'warning flag'
By Xiang Songzuo

China has serious structural economic problems, and Chinese and observers should not be misled by skewed GDP data.

At present, in China, we appear to be worried about the macro-economy. What are we so anxious about? The macroeconomic data indicates 6.7 percent growth for the first quarter! Compared with the latest data from countries around the world, 6.7 percent is No. 1.  No other country has a higher growth rate than China. Even if it is somewhat overstated, and the rate was only 6.5 percent, or even 6 percent, we’d still be the highest in the world. What are we worried about? I think we should worry about the underlying structural problems of China’s economy, not the macro data.

Bad Loans

We are seeing many statements and interpretations about why China’s economy is in trouble. In my view, the main problem stems from prominent structural contradictions within industries. Bank data clearly shows that challenges indeed exist for many traditional manufacturing industries, such as iron, steel, coal, photovoltaic, electrolytic aluminum and cement. Many companies, including steel and coal companies, have trouble making loan payments. Some businesses in these industries are doing well, but others are doing very poorly.

As for the real estate market, it is doing very well in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hangzhou, but the market is very bad in a lot of tier-three and tier-four cities in the Northeast and Northwest. 

China Default Chain Reaction Threatens Products Worth 35% of GDP
Bloomberg News

The risk of a default chain reaction is looming over the $3.6 trillion market for wealth management products in China.

WMPs, which traditionally funneled money from Chinese individuals into assets from corporate bonds to stocks and derivatives, are now increasingly investing in each other. Such holdings may have swelled to as much as 2.6 trillion yuan ($396 billion) last year, based on estimates from Autonomous Research this month.

The trend has China watchers worried. For starters, it means that bad investments by one WMP could infect others, causing a loss of confidence in products that play an important role in bank funding. It also suggests WMPs are struggling to find enough good assets to meet their return targets. In the event of widespread losses, cross-ownership will create more uncertainty over who’s vulnerable -- a key source of panic in 2008 when soured U.S. mortgage securities triggered a global financial crisis.

Those concerns have become more pressing this year after at least 10 Chinese companies defaulted on onshore bonds, the Shanghai Composite Index sank 20 percent and China’s economy showed few signs of recovery from the weakest expansion in a quarter century.

“There’s abundant liquidity in the financial system, but a scarcity of high-yielding assets to invest in,” said Harrison Hu, the chief Greater China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in Singapore. “All the risks are accumulating in an overcrowded financial system.”

Issuance of WMPs, which are sold by banks but often reside off their balance sheets, exploded over the past three years as lenders competed for funds and fees while savers sought returns above those offered on deposits. The products, which offer varying levels of explicit guarantees, are regarded by many as having the implicit backing of banks or local governments.

The outstanding value of WMPs rose to 23.5 trillion yuan, or 35 percent of China’s gross domestic product, at the end of 2015 from 7.1 trillion yuan three years earlier, according to China Central Depository & Clearing Co. An average 3,500 WMPs were issued every week last year, with some mid-tier banks, such as China Merchants Bank Co. and China Everbright Bank Co., especially dependent on the products for funding.

China slowdown poses threat to world economy, India cenbank chief says

India’s central bank governor, Raghuram Rajan, has warned that a “sharp” slowdown in China’s growth posed a threat to the global economy, highlighting possible impact from the shadow banking system of its neighbor, the Reserve Bank of India said.

Rajan’s comments were made in India’s financial capital in a speech on Thursday to central bank governors from the nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) grouping, the RBI said in a statement.

“Bad loans in the banking system were likely to grow over current levels, and, in addition, there might be serious weaknesses in the shadow banking system, which could feed back to banks,” the RBI summarized Rajan as saying on China.

“Both could be significant downside risks as they could have second round effects for SAARC economies. Chinese growth would depend not just on its policies, but also on growth elsewhere in the world.”

A “sharp” slowdown of the Chinese economy “still remained a significant risk for the global economy and the SAARC region,” Rajan added, according to the RBI.

The RBI governor has previously warned of the potential spillover effect from China’s economy to other countries, including India. 

Lending in China Is So Risky That Cows Are Now Collateralized
By Lisa Pham

In the creative world of Chinese lending, there’s a new trade in town: the cow leaseback.

China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., which operates the largest number of dairy farms in the country, is selling about a quarter of its herd -– some 50,000 animals -- to Guangdong Yuexin Finance Lease Co. for 1 billion yuan ($152 million) and then renting them back.

With an estimated $1.3 trillion of risky loans in the country, Chinese banks are becoming more cautious about lending, forcing some companies to look for new ways to borrow. Finance leasing has been growing in popularity, especially for purchases of equipment.

But cows?

"It’s not very common to use cows as collateral," said Robin Yuen, an analyst at RHB OSK Securities Hong Kong Ltd. "The value of a cow would fluctuate depending on milk prices and other factors, so it’s a risky asset for lenders. It would be hard to do forced selling -- there’s no liquid market for a large number of cows."

In Huishan Dairy’s case, the story is an increasingly common one in China of rising debts, slumping commodity prices and the propensity of Chinese executives to use their shares as collateral for private loans.
China Slump

That’s fine if the shares are rising, but in the volatility of the past year, many stocks slumped, prompting lenders who held them as guarantees for loans to demand the borrower supply more collateral.

"Huishan Dairy seems to be selling cows and leasing them back in order to raise money now, because they’ve been using cash to buy back shares," said RHB’s Yuen, who has a “sell” rating on the stock. "The chairman wants to prop up the share price for reasons that are unclear. It could be a way to get better terms for share pledged-based loans, which he’s done before."

Company Chairman Yang Kai has been building up his stake in the company to almost 74 percent, according to the latest disclosure of interests to the stock exchange. Yang pledged shares he owned to Ping An Bank Co. to finance the buybacks, RHB said in a research note on Jan. 28.

China SHADOW Banking...........Banking Crisis II coming at YOU and it's going to be Far WORSE than anything YOU Experienced in 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Japan Fails in Bid to Have G-7 Warn of Global Crisis Risk
By Isabel Reynolds and Josh Wingrove

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed in his bid to have Group of Seven leaders warn of the risk of a global economic crisis in a communique issued as their summit wraps up Friday in central Japan.

The final statement declares that G-7 countries "have strengthened the resilience of our economies in order to avoid falling into another crisis."

Japan had pressed G-7 leaders to note "the risk of the global economy exceeding the normal economic cycle and falling into a crisis if we did not take appropriate policy responses in a timely manner." On Thursday, Abe presented documents to the G-7 indicating there was a danger of the world economy careering into a crisis on the scale of the 2008 Lehman shock.

Abe has frequently said he would proceed with a planned increase in Japan’s sales tax in April 2017 unless there is an event on the scale of Lehman or a major earthquake. He is expected to announce next week he is deferring the tax rise, Japanese media reported. 

G-7 Refuses To Warn Of "Global Economic Crisis" Over Fear "Sentiment Can Become Self-Fulfilling"

In order to press his individual agenda of preserving optionality to intervene in the FX market and push the Yen lower (using increasingly more desperate measures), Japan's Prime Minister had just one task in the latest G-7 meeting: to have the Group of Seven leaders warn of the risk of a global economic crisis in the final communique issued as the summit wrapped earlier today in Japan.

He failed. In fact, the final statement went the other way and declared that G-7 countries "have strengthened the resilience of our economies in order to avoid falling into another crisis. The global recovery continues, but growth remains moderate and uneven, and since we last met downside risks to the global outlook have increased," the statement says. "Weak demand and unaddressed structural problems are the key factors weighing on actual and potential growth."

The communique urged a coordinated, albeit differentiated, response to storm clouds gathering over the global economy. Leaders pledged to use a mix of tools depending on their circumstances.

The G-7 statement compromised on the austerity-versus-stimulus debate by leaving each country’s road map open - saying they will take "into account country-specific circumstances" as they move to use "all policy tools, monetary, fiscal and structural, individually and collectively to strengthen global demand and address supply constraints while continuing our efforts to put debt on a sustainable path."

As Bloomberg adds, Japan had pressed G-7 leaders to note "the risk of the global economy exceeding the normal economic cycle and falling into a crisis if we did not take appropriate policy responses in a timely manner." On Thursday, Abe presented documents to the G-7 indicating there was a danger of the world economy careering into a crisis on the scale of the 2008 Lehman shock.

This is not surprising: this past weekend we wrote that following the G-7 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers which also took place in Japan, Japan ended up 'humiliated" due to a "sharp rift over Yen intervention" with Jack Lew and the rest of the G-7 making it abundantly clear that Japan no longer has sole authority over its own monetary policy. The reason: fears that any unilateral action by Japan, such as the country's still inexplicable descent into NIRP, would push China over the edge and lead to another uncontrolled round of global currency turmoil.

Meanwhile, the kindergarten that is Japan's government finds itself increasingly the laughing stock of the world. As a reminder, Abe has frequently said he would proceed with a planned increase in Japan’s sales tax in April 2017 unless there is an event on the scale of Lehman or a major earthquake. He is expected to announce next week he is deferring the tax rise, Japanese media reported.

Manufacturing Recession Goes Global as Demand Withers
By Wolf Richter

The “strong dollar” has been blamed for the manufacturing doldrums in the US that started over a year ago. But then manufacturing in other countries should boom, or at least not decline, but that’s not the case. Manufacturing is sick and weakening in just about every major economy!

References to 2009 and the Global Financial Crisis keep popping up in the latest spate of reports because that’s how bad it has gotten.

US manufacturing gets ugly.

On Monday, Markit reported that its US Manufacturing PMI, which tracks the overall health of the manufacturing sector via surveys sent to purchasing managers, dropped to 50.5 (below 50 = contraction) in May, the weakest reading since October 2009.

Production actually declined for the first time since September 2009, “the height of the Global Financial Crisis.” Companies blamed “reduced foreign demand” as new export orders fell for the second month in a row. And they blamed the “uncertainty around the general economic outlook” which had caused their customers “to delay spending decisions,” which then triggered production cuts.

Backlog of work fell for the fourth month in a row, at the same rate as in April, which had been a “post-recession record,” which means that companies “will be poised to cut capacity unless inflows of new work start to pick up again.”

The report summarized it this way: “The weak manufacturing PMI data cast doubt on the ability of the US economy to rebound from its disappointing start to the year in the second quarter.”

Then Japan hit the world with its collapsing trade figures.

Exports plunged 10.1% in April from a year ago, on weakness in China and other emerging markets, as Japan’s Ministry of Finance reported on Monday. Imports plummeted 23% on lower commodity prices and weak demand at home, despite (or because of) the Bank of Japan’s reckless scorched-earth monetary double whammy of QQE and negative interest rates.

So it fits in nicely that the Nikkei Japan Manufacturing PMI, also released on Monday, dropped to 47.6 (below 50 = contraction), with the output index plunging to 46.9, the sharpest decline in 25 months.

The new orders index, a harbinger for future business, dropped to 44.1, the sharpest decline in 41 months. Turns out, one of the primary reasons for the drop wasn’t the April earthquake, but “a marked contraction in foreign demand, which saw the sharpest fall in over three years.” 

Attention ""LAB RATS"" of Planet Earth.................My Vacation "IS" now Over and While I was gone the ""PIMPS"" of Wall Street have been up to their ""PUMP and DUMP"" ways getting YOU to BUY into the Belief that ALL "IS" WELL...........................BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Planet Earth has NEVER Been Closer to ""Financial Collapse"" and ""GLOBAL WAR"" than it IS TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Folks, Stop what YOUR Doing and READ what I Got for YOU HERE this Morning and then go to MY Links Above and then....................""CONNECT the Dots""!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Third Parties Rising Throughout Europe
By Martin Armstrong

This is what happens when politicians think they are smarter than the great unwashed whom they rule over. They lack common sense on every possible level. The rise of third parties is a reality and our computer has been spot on with this forecast for 2016. It accomplished this forecast by simply doing what government does not seem capable of doing — correlating political trends with economic trends.

Socialism is the lite version of communism where you let the people own property and freely buy and sell homes instead of dictating where they live, but you tax the hell out of them for the privilege of existing. They pretend to be all noble for they are taking your money for some greater good, but somehow there is a sea of hands in the pot belonging to government employees with pensions that often include free healthcare for life that nobody in the real world can possibly get   

Folks, YOU Need to Spread the Word of MY Warning HERE. Planet EARTH "IS" in some Very DEEP Shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Nationalism "IS" Spreading around the World like it did in the 1930s and WE All KNOW how that Fricking ENDED.........................RIGHT??????????????????

Unintended Consequences, Part 1: Easy Money = Overcapacity = Deflation
By John Rubino via

Somewhere back in the depths of time the world got the idea that easy money — that is, low interest rates and high levels of government spending — would produce sustainable growth with modest but positive inflation. And for a while it seemed to work.

But that was an illusion. What actually happened was textbook, long-term, surreally-vast misallocation of capital in which individuals, companies and governments were fooled into thinking that adding new factories, stores and infrastructure at a rate several times that of population growth would somehow work out for the best.

China, as with so many other things, was the epicenter of this delusion. In response to the 2008-2009 financial crisis it borrowed more money than any other country ever, and spent most of the proceeds on infrastructure and basic industry. It’s steel-making capacity, already huge by 2008, kept growing right through the Great Recession, and now dwarfs that of any other country.

Unintended Consequences, Part 2: Easy Money = Overcapacity = Trade Wars
By John Rubino

It’s unclear what China was thinking when it was borrowed all those trillions to quadruple its capacity to make steel, cement and other basic industrial products. There’s no record of it checking in with the other countries that have such industries to see if a sudden surge of cheap imports was okay with them.

Turns out that it’s not. The US in particular seems to lack a sense of humor where the death of its steel industry is involved:

US hits China and others with more steep steel duties

Europe’s not amused either:

EU warns China to expect new steel tariffs

And trade wars, of course, = deflation

So what happens to all that Chinese steel that was on its way to the US and EU before slamming into those prohibitively high tariffs? One of three things: Either it’s sold elsewhere, probably at even steeper discounts, thus pricing US and EU steel exports out of those markets. Or it’s stockpiled in China for future use, thus lowering future demand for new steel production and, other things being equal, depressing tomorrow’s prices. Or many of China’s newly-built steel mills will close, and China will eat the losses related to this malinvestment.

Each scenario results in lower prices and financial losses somewhere. Put another way, as far as steel is concerned, the world’s fiat currencies are rising in value, which is the common definition of deflation. And since steel is just one of many basic industries burdened with massive overcapacity, it’s safe to assume that the process which began with oil and recently spread to steel will continue to metastasize throughout the developed and developing worlds. Next up: real estate. See Miami’s Condo Frenzy Ends With Inventory Piling Up in New Towers.,-part-2:-easy-money-=-overcapacity-=-trade-wars-200132808 

The Federal Reserve's $4.3 trillion ticking time bomb

Quantitative easing was a Faustian bargain.
By Jared Blikre

The Federal Reserve has a big problem if it wants to raise rates again. It will have to pay U.S. and foreign banks enormous sums of money instead of U.S. taxpayers.

Not only would the Fed likely draw the ire of Congress, but it could also become a target of the next U.S. president—be it Clinton or Trump. That’s because the gangbuster profits of $90 billion (plus) per year that the Fed remits to the Treasury could easily dwindle to zero. According to several leading economists, it’s also possible that the Fed will become technically insolvent (though it always has the power to print its way out of such a disastrous state).

Quantitative easing was a Faustian bargain

The putative savior of the financial crisis, quantitative easing, was a Faustian bargain. The Fed got to inject trillions of dollars into the financial sector while simultaneously “sterilizing” the very same money. It did this by incentivizing banks to deposit their digital cash at the Fed, paying above-market interest rates.

Currently, the Fed pays 0.50% annually to banks to keep that money out of the economy. It might not seem like much, but the comparable rate paid by the U.S. Treasury for T-bills is 0.28%. In other words, the Fed pays banks nearly twice as much as the Treasury does.

But the Fed refuses to acknowledge this. Each year, the Fed Chair is required by law to testify twice in front of Congress. Both Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen have used the word, “comparable,” to assert disingenuously that the Fed is paying an amount of interest similar to what banks could earn in the marketplace. It’s possible to “compare” apples to oranges, but it doesn’t mean they’re similar.

Currently, the Fed is paying banks about $12 billion per year in interest. If the Fed raises rates two times (by 0.25% each time) and the level of reserves stays the same, that number doubles to $24 billion. If we are to believe San Francisco Fed President John Williams, who targets an eventual 3.0% for short-term rates, then that's $72 billion per year to the banks. This is a huge expenses for the Fed. Subtract from that the $90 billion (plus) per year in operating profits, and the amount of money the Fed pays to the Treasury gets pretty small.

The Fed is poised to take huge capital losses

But it gets worse. The Fed is taking capital losses on its $4.3 trillion bond portfolio, and those losses will eventually accelerate. When the bonds that the Fed holds mature, it realizes losses because it paid above-market prices for most of them to begin with.

The Fed is currently keeping its balance sheet the same size, purchasing new bonds when old ones mature. Should it decide to sell bonds, it would realize huge losses over a short space of time and would likely go into debt with the U.S. Treasury. According to Hall and Reis, it would take the Fed 6 to 10 years to work off the debt and get back in the green.

Bottom line: No matter how you slice it, the Fed payments to Uncle Sam will not only drop off a cliff someday, they could also go negative. That means, the taxpayers would be indirectly on the hook for Federal Reserve operating losses.

The crisis comes when Congress realizes the Fed is paying the government nothing (or next to nothing) while shelling out billions to the banks. Several members of Congress have already been critical of Fed payments to banks, but they’ve largely missed the mark. When the next budget crisis arises without the Fed paying it’s perceived “fair share,” all it would take is a few impassioned speeches to stir the masses and make monetary policy a de facto political animal.

Lacy Hunt: Debt Is Hurtling The US Toward An Economic Crisis
By Business Insider

Debt will get the US into a monumental pickle, or at least Lacy Hunt thinks so.

Hunt, one of the leaders of Hoisington Investment Management, which manages over $4 billion, said the increasing debt among corporations and the government was going to take the country down a startling path.

“The traditional business cycle model said that recessions are brought in by rising interest rates and rising inflation,” Hunt said this week during an interview at the Mauldin Economics’ Strategic Investment Conference.

“However, when economies are extremely overindebted, the economies can turn down under the weight of the debt. We’ve seen four recession in Japan in the last seven years with interest rates at zero and inflation negative.”

Japan is the classic example of the type of problem Hunt is forecasting. The country’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product is the highest in the world, growth has been anemic, and the country has gone to extreme measures to cure its economic ills.

It’s not that debt is a bad thing necessarily; according to Hunt, it’s the addition of debt without a corresponding rise in growth that’s the core problem.

“Debt becomes very problematic when it does not generate an income stream to replace future interest,” he said.

“Even more problematic is when the debt causes asset prices to rise when corporate profits are falling or when real intrinsic value of some asset such as real estate is falling. Debt can cause a downturn as opposed to inflation and interest rates.”

Hunt is correct that leverage among US corporates has increased over the past few years, while at the same time corporate profits are going through a recession.

“It means the average American is not doing that well,” Hunt said. “The standard of living is the same as 20 years ago, and I think that’s why people don’t feel good about things.”

This has lead to numerous ills for the country, Hunt said, including fewer job opportunities, the highest number of people on food stamps in history, and a record percentage of young adults living at home.

To be fair, there is one important place where debt has decreased: households. The average American’s pile of debt relative to income is much lower than during the lead-up to the financial crisis. Additionally, counter to Hunt’s point, the labor market in the US is strong.

Despite this, Hunt believes that the issues facing Americans are primarily coming from the debt that is accumulating.

“These are all manifestations of the fact that debt has restricted the growth in economic activity and the consequences are very real for many, many households in the country,” Hunt said. 

Don’t listen to the ruling elite: the world economy is in real trouble

Andy Xie says those attending the G20, Davos and other wasteful meetings are wrong to try to pin the blame for the turmoil on people’s psychology; all signs point to a prolonged period of global stagnation and instability
By Andy Xie

The G20 working group meeting in Shanghai didn’t come up with any constructive proposals for reviving the global economy and, instead, complained that the recent market turmoil didn’t reflect the “underlying fundamentals of the global economy”. The oil price has declined by 70 per cent since June 2014, while the Brazilian real has halved, and the Russian rouble is down by 60 per cent. The global economy is on the cusp of another recession, and these important people blamed it all on some sort of psychological problem of the people.

Over the past two decades, the global economy has been blessed with the entry and participation of 800 million hard-working Chinese, plus the information revolution. The pie should have increased enough in size to make most people happier. Yet, the opposite has happened. The world has gone from one crisis to another. People are complaining everywhere. This is due to mismanagement by the very people who attend the G20 meetings, the Davos boondoggle, and so many other global meetings that waste taxpayers’ money and put inept leaders in the limelight.

One major complaint that people have is that the system is rigged – that is, the rising income concentration is not due to free market competition, but a rigged system that favours the politically powerful. This is largely true. The new billionaires over the past two decades have come mostly from finance and property. Few made it the way Steve Jobs or Bill Gates did, creating something that makes people more productive.

The most important factor in the rigged system is monetary policy being used to pump up financial markets in the name of stimulating growth for people’s benefit. This is essentially the trickle-down wealth effect, that is, making some people in the financial food chain rich while the spillover gives people a few crumbs. Yet, instead of crumbs, the wealth effect has pumped up property prices in Manhattan, London and Hong Kong, as well as the price of modern art. Essentially, the wealth effect has stayed within the small circle of the wealthy. And these people show up at Davos to congratulate policymakers on their “successes”.

Wasting resources is an equally important factor in making the global economy weak and prone to crisis. After the 2008 financial crisis, the US government and Federal Reserve spent trillions of dollars to bail out the people who created the crisis. Instead of facing bankruptcy and jail, these people have become richer than ever. Predictably, they have used their resources to rig the system further.

Global Economic Briefing:
Central Bank Balance Sheets
Yardeni Research, Inc.
May 27, 2016
Dr. Edward Yardeni

David Stockman: Fed to Push Economy Into Recession
By F McGuire

Newsmax Finance Insider David Stockman, former budget director under President Ronald Reagan, warns that the nation will plunge into recession by year’s end.

He said the Fed’s hawkish tone about hiking interest-rates is merely bluster.

“When has the Fed ever gotten it right about the economy? Did it see the crash coming in 2000? Did it see the housing bubble? Did it see the Wall-Street meltdown in 2008, or the bubble it’s creating now,” he asked Fox Business Network. “The answer is no…it has no clear view of the future.”

Expectations for a move in June or July have ticked up after minutes from the Fed's April meeting showed policymakers are likely to raise rates in June if the economy improves in the second quarter, labor market conditions improve and inflation remains on track to hit the central bank's 2 percent target.

Stockman said he expects a recession by the end of this year or next, which he forecasts will be followed by “massive panic and selling” on Wall Street, FBN reported.

“It’s hard to say what the black swan is, but right now, if we look at this economy, inventories are building up. If we look at transportation, for instance, rail traffic is down 10%, trucking traffic is down, manufacturing has been negative for months,” he said. 

Central banks can't go it alone anymore
By Mohamed A. El-Erian

Whether through signals from the Group of Seven meeting this week or in the outcome of the latest round of European negotiations on Greece, officials of advanced countries increasingly are acknowledging that the problems facing their economies require a new response to take over from the overlong use of narrow short-term tools.

This recognition has been too long in the making and, judging from the regrettable lack of credible and detailed action plans, still needs time to be translated into progress on the ground.

Secular Stagnation

Before the G-7 meeting in Japan, several member countries indicated they understood that their individual and collective policy stances needed to evolve. Germany warned against continued over-reliance on central banks, simultaneously stressing the need for structural reforms. Canada and Japan urged a more aggressive and imaginative use of fiscal policy. And the US warned Japan to resist the temptation to intervene to depreciate the yen.

Earlier this week, Greece’s European partners concluded that they needed a greater emphasis on debt relief for that beleaguered economy. In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, an International Monetary Fund official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there is there was agreement among all stakeholders that Greece's debt was "highly unsustainable" and needed relief. In addition, the official said the parties "accept the methodology that should be used to calibrate the necessary debt relief. They accept the objectives in terms of the gross financing need in the near term and in the long run. They even accept the time periods, a very long time period, over which this debt has to be met through 2060."

Earnings fall at fastest rate since the Great Recession

S&P 500 first-quarter earnings declined for the fourth straight quarter, and more sharply than in any quarter since 2009
By Ciara Linnane

First-quarter earnings season is close to over, and the numbers it’s produced are as gloomy as they have been since the Great Recession.

Overall profit for S&P 500 companies was the weakest in 6 1/2 years. The financial sector showed a double-digit percentage decline, while even stodgy utilities saw earnings fall into the red as unusual weather weighed.

After selling assets, cutting capital expenditures and buying back their own shares at a record pace in recent years, companies are now clearly struggling to produce any kind of growth.

“The global economic slowdown over the past couple of years certainly has weighed on U.S. company revenues, which have weakened further due to the strong dollar since late 2014,” said Ed Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research, in a note. “In turn, the weakness in revenues and earnings has undoubtedly weighed on U.S. companies’ spending in the U.S. and overseas.”

Business Debt Delinquencies Are Now Higher Than When Lehman Brothers Collapsed In 2008
By Michael Snyder

You are about to see more very clear evidence that a new economic crisis has already begun.  During economic recoveries, business debt delinquencies generally fall, and during times of economic recession business debt delinquencies generally rise.  In fact, you will see below that business debt delinquencies shot up dramatically just prior to the last two recessions, and the exact same thing is happening again right now.  In 2008, business debt delinquencies increased at a very frightening pace just before Lehman Brothers collapsed, and this was a very clear sign that big trouble was ahead.  Unfortunately for us, in 2016 business debt delinquencies have already shot up above the level they were sitting at just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and every time debt delinquencies have ever gotten this high the U.S. economy has always fallen into recession.

In article after article, I have shown that key indicators for the U.S. economy started falling in either late 2014 or at some point during 2015.  Well, business debt delinquencies are another example of this phenomenon.  According to Wolf Richter, business debt delinquencies have shot up an astounding 137 percent since the fourth quarter of 2014… 

Companies Go on Worldwide Bond Bender With $236 Billion of Sales
By Bloomberg Business

A borrowing binge by companies globally is poised to make May one of the the busiest months ever, thanks to investors who continue to devour the relatively juicy yields on corporate debt in a negative-rate world.

Global issuance of non-financial company debt will be in excess of $236 billion by month-end, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, led by computer maker Dell Inc., which sold $20 billion of bonds to back its takeover of EMC Corp. in the year’s second-biggest corporate offering. In Europe, companies sold 48.5 billion euros ($54.2 billion) making it the busiest May on record. U.S. borrowers including Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Heinz Co. did deals of more than 1 billion euros.

The surge in issuance is unlikely to satisfy investors who hoped to boost their income by buying company debt when easy-money monetary policies push yields on more than $9 trillion of bonds worldwide below zero. The extra yield investors demand to hold company debt globally relative to safer government bonds remains near year-to-date lows, while concessions on newly issued notes have fallen over the course of the month.

“Deals continue to be very much oversubscribed,” said Travis King, head of investment-grade credit at Voya Investment Management, which oversees $203 billion. “It is very difficult to get bonds, especially in the hotter deals.”

June Slowdown

For investors who placed more than $80 billion of orders for Dell’s bond sale, the problem may get worse next month. Seasonal declines in issuance, combined with decisions by some companies to accelerate debt sales to May, indicate June volumes in the U.S. will be in the $75 billion to $85 billion range, about half of this month’s supply, according to Bank of America Corp.

Vincent Murray, who heads U.S. fixed-income syndicate at Mizuho Securities USA in New York, said the flow of new deals kept his team kept busy all month. While bond issuance will be less than $100 billion in June, some opportunistic companies may take advantage of low rates in the weeks ahead to issue debt, he said.

The Banking Crisis in Spain is Back
By Don Quijones

The shares of Banco Popular got crushed.

After three years of relative calm and one month before yet another round of do-or-die general elections, the words “banking” and “crisis” are back on the front pages of Spain’s newspapers. Despite the untold billions of euros of public funds lavished on “cleaning up” their balance sheets and the roughly €240 billion of provisions booked against bad debt since December 2007, the banks are just as weak and disaster-prone as they were four years ago.

Francisco González, the President of Spain’s second biggest financial institution, BBVA, was the first to raise the alarm, warning a few days ago that the ECB’s negative interest rate policy “is killing” European banks.

Now, it seems González’s prophecy is already coming true.

Spain’s sixth largest financial institution, Banco Popular, on Wednesday evening announced that it was urgently seeking to raise €2.5 billion in capital in order to shore up its finances. The news took many of the firm’s investors by surprise given that just a month ago the bank’s CEO Francisco Gomez had breezily reported that the bank had a very comfortable core capital level above the regulatory minimum and “one of the best” leverage ratios in the sector.

The market’s response to the latest news was emphatic. The bank’s shares plunged 25% Thursday morning. There was not even the barest flicker of a recovery on Thursday afternoon. On Friday, the stock dropped another 8.2%, to close at €1.59 per share, its lowest in 26 years. Over the three days, the stock plummeted 32%.

For the bank’s shareholders, it’s the second time this has happened in the last four years. In 2012, the bank’s management — virtually man-for-man the same management team as today — pulled the exact same stunt in an effort to stabilize the bank’s finances. The slogan the bank chose to sell that capital increase was “Our Past and Our Present Guarantee Our Future.”

The guarantee didn’t last very long. Now, Banco Popular has laundry list of problems: 

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

Expats Flee Spain To Avoid Tax On Overseas Assets
By Ryan Holder

Tax changes are believed to have forced thousands of expats to flee their new home in the Spanish sunshine.

Official figures show the numbers of European Union expats moving to Spain have fallen year-on-year since 2012 in line with the introduction of the new tax rules.

Expats have to declare details about their worldwide income and investments to the Spanish tax office.

The law was designed to halt bribery and corruption by local officials who were hiding their wealth offshore, but the wording of the law also netted expats.

The rules require expats to declare any overseas assets worth more than 50,000 euros.

Many expats who have failed to make the declaration are suspected to have left the country to avoid fines and other penalties.

***Brexit Would Be Britain's Independence Day
By George Will

Leaders of the campaign to end Britain's membership in the European Union hope that next month's referendum will make June 23, 2016, a date as luminous in modern British history as May 3, 1979, when voters made Margaret Thatcher prime minister. Michael Gove, secretary of justice and leader of the campaign for Brexit, Britain's withdrawal from the EU, anticipates a "galvanizing, liberating, empowering moment of national renewal."
For Americans, Britain's debate about Brexit is more substantive, and perhaps more important, than their dispiriting presidential choice. American conservatives would regard Britain's withdrawal from the EU as the healthy rejection of political grandiosity.
Gove's friend, Prime Minister David Cameron, who opposes Brexit, says that the referendum is "perhaps the most important decision the British people will have to take at the ballot box in our lifetimes." Advocates of Brexit agree, but add: If Britons vote to remain in the EU, this might be the last important decision made at British ballot boxes because important decisions will increasingly be made in Brussels.
The EU's "democracy deficit" is mistakenly considered merely an unintended injury done by the creation of a blessing, a continent-wide administrative state. Actually, the deficit is the point of such a state. In Europe, as in the United States, the administrative state exists to marginalize politics, to achieve Henri de Saint-Simon's goal of "replacing the government of persons by the administration of things."

The idea of a continent-wide European democracy presupposes the existence of a single European demos, the nonexistence of which can be confirmed by a drive from, say, Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic.

Gibraltar leader fears Spain sovereignty push over Brexit

Spain may try to force the issue of joint sovereignty with Britain over Gibraltar in the event of a Brexit, the territory’s chief minister said in an interview.

Fabian Picardo told Sky News television that Spain might close the frontier gates with the British overseas territory if Britain votes to leave the European Union in a membership referendum on June 23, choking the peninsula of workers and land access to the continent.

Gibraltar’s thriving services-based economy relies in large part on access to the EU’s market.

Picardo said Brexit supporters “would have a lot to answer for” if Madrid raised the possibility of joint sovereignty over the Rock – hitherto anathema to its 30,000 or so residents.

In case of a Brexit, the chief minister said: “Current Spanish foreign minister [Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo] has been explicit as to what that may mean. 

Brexit Threat Has Euro Outsider Denmark Preparing for Worst
By Peter Levring and Nicholas Rigillo

The risk of a British exit from the European Union has the government in Denmark, an EU member that hasn’t adopted the euro, preparing for the worst.

While most polls suggest U.K. voters probably won’t back a so-called Brexit, the June 23 referendum on whether to stay or go still threatens to cause disruption on a scale that is forcing European governments to react. Danish Finance Minister Claus Hjort Fredriksen says there’s no way of knowing what will happen.

“It could be a resounding ‘no’ or a ‘yes,’ or a very narrow decision,” he said in an interview in Copenhagen on Friday. “There’s a whole range of possible outcomes.” For that reason, his ministry is preparing for a “worse” result than polls indicate will come about.

A Bloomberg poll of polls on Friday put the “leave” camp at 45 percent, with the “remain” side at 44 percent. A probability score based on the polls calculates there’s an 81 percent likelihood Britain will stay inside the EU.

Danish banks are already warning that the appeal of safe-haven markets will soar in the event of a Brexit. That would drive investors into AAA-rated krone assets and put pressure on the country’s euro peg. And with Danish interest rates already well below zero, the central bank would have less ammunition with which to fight a speculative assault than it did last year, when Switzerland’s decision to abandon its euro ties sent currency markets into turmoil.

Another concern is trade-related, with a Brexit leading to considerable uncertainty on what sort of deals would allow the flow of imports and exports to continue. For Denmark, a British departure from the EU would shave about 0.25 percentage point off gross domestic product growth already in 2016, with that effect doubling next year, the Finance Ministry estimates.

“It will take a very long time to settle the exit, so we’ll have a long period of uncertainty,” Frederiksen said.

Europe secretly getting ready for Brexit

The European politicians have discussed exit of Great Britain from the EU at a secret meeting. They have agreed upon reaction to possible Brexit.

They have discussed plan of actions within first hours after the referendum results are declared in June.

As they believe in the EU, it is better to be prepared beforehand rather than wait the day after 23 June.

The meeting was headed by Martin Selmayr, Head of Cabinet of the European Commission President. Beside that, top diplomats from Germany and France attended it.

According to surveys, 45% of the British citizens are for the Brexit, while 44% oopose it.

The youth stand for membership in the EU, and the elder British definitely insist on the leave.

A recent survey of an independent agency Ipsos-MORI showed that many other countries will be also ready to raise issues of the same referendums in case the United Kingdom exits from the EU after all. 

Putin signs economic deals with Greece

Russian President Vladimir Putin sealed a number of economic deals during a visit to Greece aimed at reinforcing Russia's relationship with Athens. The visit comes amid ongoing tensions between Russia and the EU.

Greek officials said that the prospect of increased trade with Russia could play a part in the country's recovery efforts, as Greece remains in recession despite far-reaching austerity measures. Greece is one of the few EU countries that still keeps friendly ties with Russia.

"I would like to once again emphasize that strengthening our connections with Russia is our strategic choice," Tsipras told Putin, according to a Kremlin transcript.

"We have historical, close religious bonds, and we have the opportunity to further build our economic partnership as well as increase stability in the region and the world as a whole," Tsipras continued.

Putin's visit came as relations between Russia and the EU remain troubled since the Ukraine conflict that broke out in 2014 as well as Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula in the same year.

"The issue of Crimea is over forever, based on the will of the people who live there. Russia will never negotiate on this issue," Putin said Friday in Greece.

The real threat to Europe lies in the Aegean
By Wolfgang Münchau

In its negotiations with Turkey over the refugee crisis Europe has lost the moral high ground

At the start of the year, the EU was paralysed by the prospect of three simultaneous, potentially destructive threats: Grexit, Brexit and the refugee crisis. Since then, one has receded but not disappeared; one remains undecided; and another is in danger of blowing up.

The receding crisis is Greece. The agreement last week removed the risk of a Greek exit from the eurozone in the immediate future. The deal characteristically leaves a number of open ends, which is troubling but not necessarily disastrous.

In a significant concession the International Monetary Fund accepted that an agreement on debt relief for Athens is postponed for another two years. This suits Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, because his party opposes debt relief. But the deal also requires him and other European finance ministers to come clean before the end of this year on what debt relief measures they intend to propose. The numbers will have to add up — an unheard of event in eurozone crisis resolution politics. There is enormous pressure on eurozone officials to deliver a set of figures that the IMF can accept.

The European finance ministers have also conceded that Greece’s gross financing needs should not exceed 15 per cent of economic output. The GFN is the IMF’s preferred metric. It is the money a country needs to fund interest rates and debt repayment. The acceptance of a GFN ceiling is a big step forward as it is the mechanism that forces debt relief. The problem with this latest accord is that the creditors might not keep their word. The irony is that the Bundestag could approve Greek debt relief today but may no longer be able to do so after the federal election next year. 

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The Coming CORRECTION WILL be the Greatest Cycle of WEALTH Destruction in the History of Money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

UK To Stockpile Tanks, Heavy Equipment Close To Russia's Border

Following the May 12 launch of "Aegis Ashore", the operational name of Washington's European missile defense system based in Romania, which overnight swept away the tentative European nuclear arms race balance of power as it removed a Russian "first strike threat" thereby pressuring Russia to implement further nuclear offensive and defensive measures, Putin was livid, and as we reported yesterday, during his press conference with Greek PM Tsipras, the Russian president explicitly warned Poland and Romania that they are now in Russian first-strike crosshairs, and that Russia's most likely response would be the deployment of SS-26 nuclear-capable tactical missiles.

"If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security," Putin told a joint news conference in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. "It will be the same case with Poland," he said.

"We have the capability to respond. The whole world saw what our medium-range sea-based missiles are capable of [in Syria]. But we violate no agreements. And our ground-based Iskander missiles have also proven themselves as superb,” continued Putin.

But what was most troubling, was Putin's implicit warning that should NATO continue to escalate, and push ever more troops into countries neighboring Russia, the Kremlin would be unable to prevent a likewise escalatory response: "We've been repeating like a mantra that we will be forced to respond... Nobody wants to hear us. Nobody wants to conduct negotiations with us."

And then, as if on cue, NATO made it even more explicit that its primary prerogative remains to provoke Russia into an offensive move, when over the weekend the Times reported that the British military may soon start stockpiling tanks and other heavy equipment in Eastern Europe as part of NATO's military beef up close to Russia's border. The decision may come at the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw in July. 

WW3 warning: Putin threatens missile attacks on EUROPE amid growing war fears

VLADIMIR Putin has warned Romania and Poland that they are "in the cross-hairs" because they are hosting parts of a US missile shield.
By Patrick Knox

 Iskander missiles

Moscow is furious that the eastern European countries have allowed America to base its anti-missile forces in their countries because rockets can shoot down Russian nukes.

This week Romania switched on part of the shield and Poland is set to follow suit.

But Putin told reporters in Athens this could mean war.

Russia 'pushing EU to brink of war': Putin poses 'existential threat' to Europe, says Nato

EXCLUSIVE: BELLIGERENT Vladimir Putin poses an existential threat to Europe, senior Nato commanders have warned.
By Tom Batchelor in Szczecin, Poland 

In a string of highly-charged comments on the threat from the east to the military alliance and its 28 member states, several senior Nato commanders said the Kremlin's current leadership was pushing parts of eastern Europe to the brink of war.

Speaking during joint Nato exercises in eastern Poland, senior Nato commander Major General Hans van Griensven warned of an existential threat to the continent.

He claimed Moscow was "destabilising the region" and warned about the potential for an escalation of tensions along Europe's eastern border. 

Putin Vows Retaliation Over US Missile Shield; Warns Poland, Romania Now In The "Cross Hairs"

While Obama was in Hiroshima in a historic trip as the first standing president of the only nation to have ever used a nuclear weapon during wartime, and warning about the dangers of nuclear power without offering an apology to Japan, Russian president Putin was in Greece seeking to resume where he left off one year ago, ahead of the turbulent Greece "referendum" and capital controls, following which the Greek people have turned increasingly against remaining in the Eurogroup, a shift Putin certainly hopes to capitalize on.

But it wasn't the latest Greek pivot toward Russia that was the highlight of Putin's trip: it was his latest warning that the Russian response to the most recent NATO provocation in Europe will be significant.

Recall that on May 12, in a dramatic development for the global nuclear balance of power, the United States launched its European missile defense system dubbed Aegis Ashore at a remote airbase in the town of Deveselu, Romania, almost a decade after Washington proposed protecting NATO from Iranian rockets and despite repeated Russian warnings that the West is threatening the peace in central Europe.

As we noted at the time, the US move was a clear defection from the carefully established Game Theory equilibrium in the aftermath of the nuclear arms race, one which explicitly removed a Russian "first strike threat", thereby pressuring Russia to implement further nuclear offensive and defensive measures: "the precarious nuclear balance of power in Europe has suddenly shifted, and quite dramatically: despite U.S. assurances, the Kremlin says the missile shield's real aim is to neutralize Moscow's nuclear arsenal long enough for the United States to make a first strike on Russia in the event of war."

And sure enough, making it very clear that this biggest yet provocation by the US and NATO is not forgotten, during a joint press conference with Tsipras in Greece, Putin warned Romania and Poland they could find themselves in the sights of Russian rockets because they are hosting elements of a U.S. missile shield that Moscow considers a threat to its security.

Putin, cited by Reuters,  issued his starkest warning yet over the missile shield, saying that Moscow had stated repeatedly that it would have to take retaliatory steps but that Washington and its allies had ignored the warnings.

Putin says Romania, Poland may now be in Russia's cross-hairs
ATHENS | By Denis Dyomkin

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned Romania and Poland they could find themselves in the sights of Russian rockets because they are hosting elements of a U.S. missile shield that Moscow considers a threat to its security.

Putin issued his starkest warning yet over the missile shield, saying that Moscow had stated repeatedly that it would have to take retaliatory steps but that Washington and its allies had ignored the warnings.

Earlier this month the U.S. military -- which says the shield is needed to protect from Iran, not threaten Russia -- switched on the Romanian part of the shield. Work is going ahead on another part of the shield, in Poland.

"If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security," Putin told a joint news conference in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"It will be the same case with Poland," he said.

Sweden Joins NATO’s Emerging War against Russia
By Eric Zuesse

Sweden, which historically has been a ‘neutral’ country between the U.S. and Russia, is joining the NATO buildup against Russia, allowing NATO to place nuclear weapons in Sweden for an attack against Russia, and, like NATO (of which Sweden isn’t a member) lying about it to their people, and to the world.

The alleged reason for joining the operation is that “Russian aggression against Ukraine breaches international law and challenges the European security order”, according to Sweden’s ‘defence’ minister Peter Hultqvist. He denied nuclear weapons would be part of it.

He also said, “I have sometimes wondered if there has been deliberate disinformation” by opponents of the proposal. (Let him call this report such ‘disinformation’, because I’m going to link here to solid sources that expose his and ‘The West’s’ other vicious lies leading straight to World War III.)

This is being done by Sweden in the leadup to the NATO Summit on July 8-9 against Russia, and in the context of America’s installation on Russia’s borders of weaponry to disable Russia’s capacity to retaliate against a Western blitz-invasion from NATO. The first successful test of that BMD or “Ballistic Missile Defense” system occurred on 19 May 2016 and constituted a breakthrough in the ability of the United States and its allies to conquer Russia; the test had occurred in Hawaii. Just seven days earlier than that test, the first installation of the system had occurred, which took place in Romania on May 12th. So, U.S. rulers have started to install the ultimate mass-killing system, for the ultimate conquest; it’s the system to block an enemy from defending itself from an invasion. Russia is increasingly surrounded by an expanding NATO, and that expansion up to Russia’s borders is supposed to be accepted by Russia as if it’s not a very aggressive move against Russia. And Sweden’s rulers have decided to be on the winning side of World War III. 

How Russia is preparing for WWIII

This article was written for the Unz Review:

I have recently posted a piece in which I tried to debunk a few popular myths about modern warfare. Judging by many comments which I received in response to this post, I have to say that the myths in question are still alive and well and that I clearly failed to convince many readers. What I propose to do today, is to look at what Russia is really doing in response to the growing threat from the West. But first, I have to set the context or, more accurately, re-set the context in which Russia is operating. Let’s begin by looking at the AngloZionist policies towards Russia.

The West’s actions:

First on this list is, obviously, the conquest by NATO of all of Eastern Europe. I speak of conquest because that is exactly what it is, but a conquest achieved according to the rules of 21st century warfare which I define as “80% informational, 15% economic and 5% military”. Yes, I know, the good folks of Eastern Europe were just dreaming of being subjugated by the US/NATO/EU/etc – but so what? Anyone who has read Sun Tzu will immediately recognize that this deep desire to be ‘incorporated’ into the AngloZionist “Borg” is nothing else but the result of a crushed self-identity, a deep-seated inferiority complex and, thus, a surrender which did not even have to be induced by military means. At the end of the day, it makes no difference what the locals thought they were achieving – they are now subjects of the Empire and their countries more or less irrelevant colonies in the fringe of the AngloZionist Empire. As always, the local comprador elite is now bubbling with pride at being, or so they think, accepted as equals by their new masters (think Poroshenko, Tusk or Grybauskaite) which gives them the courage to bark at Moscow from behind the NATO fence. Good for them.

Second is the now total colonization of Western Europe into the Empire. While NATO moved to the East, the US also took much deeper control of Western Europe which is now administered for the Empire by what the former Mayor of London once called the “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” – faceless bureaucrats à la François Hollande or Angela Merkel.

Third, the Empire has given its total support to semi-demonic creatures ranging from al-Khattab to Nadezhda Savchenko. The West’s policy is crystal clear and simple to the extreme: if it is anti-Russian we back it. This policy is best exemplified with a Putin and Russia demonization campaign which is, in my opinion, far worse and much more hysterical than anything during the Cold War.

Fourth, the West has made a number of highly disturbing military moves including the deployment of the first elements of an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, the dispatching of various forms of rapid reaction forces, the deployment of a few armored units, etc. NATO now has forward deployed command posts which can be used to support the engagement of a rapid reaction force.

What does all this add up to?

Right now, nothing much, really. Yes, the NATO move right up to the Russian borders is highly provocative, but primarily in political terms. In purely military terms, not only is this a very bad idea (see cliché #6 here), but the size of the actual forces deployed is, in reality, tiny: the ABM system currently deployed can, at best, hope to intercept a few missiles (10-20 depending on your assumptions) as for the conventional forces they are of the battalion size (more or less 600 soldiers plus support). So right now there is categorically no real military threat to Russia.

So why are the Russians so clearly upset?

NATO masses troops along Russian border, war becomes possible scenario - peace movement leader

NATO could expand its presence - again, this time with Montenegro bidding for membership of the alliance. The country's government insists the decision is supported by the majority of the people, but polls show otherwise - almost half of Montenegro is against the idea. Memories of the Yugoslavian conflict, where the people were bombed by NATO planes, are still alive. So why is the government going for membership? And will it become a blessing - or another problem? We ask journalist and a member of the "No to war - No to NATO " peace movement. Gojko Raicevic is on Sophie&Co today.

Sophie Shevardnadze: Gojko Raicevic, leader of the “No to War - No to Nato” peace movement which advocates for Montenegro’s neutrality, welcome to the show, it’s really great to have you with us. Now, Gojko, Montenegro just signed a NATO Accession Protocol, and country’s PM Milo Đukanović is saying Montenegro has made its choice and it’s going West, no matter what. But study shows that around half of Montenegro’s population is against joining NATO. Why is mr. Đukanović so sure the country has made the right choice?

GR: First of all you have to understand that mr. Đukanović is not a trustworthy person. Đukanović, for 27 years since he’s in his post, he changed his politics ever so often. Remember, that he was part of the military action on Dubrovnik and then afterwards he was regretting it and being involved in a cigarette smuggling afterwards, he was a victim of Brussels and Washington’s blackmailing, so he has to do whatever Washington and Brussels are asking. So, I wouldn’t think of Đukanović and his attitude as something that is even permanent, it is something that could be changed and it has been proven in the past. So, I wouldn’t rely on whatever he said - you just don’t do it.

SS: NATO says accepting Montenegro means expanding its security umbrella - what kind of protection will NATO offer to Montenegro? Does the country need external protection from anything?

GR: NATO is a source of problems, NATO is not a solution to any problems. That’s the fact, and we know that very well, living in Balkans, and having experienced NATO for the last 20 years, when they started the action - more than 20 years ago, in Republika Srpska and later on with their bombing campaign against Yugoslavia - so NATO is just not the solution. We have a problem with NATO and we don’t see NATO as a solution to the problem. 

More Warnings of War From American and Russian Voices

May 27, 2016 (EIRNS)—Two leading voices opposing the Obama Administration and NATO’s escalating provocations against Russia have spoken out this week again, warning of the imminent danger of general war.

A dire warning came from Gen.-Col. Leonid Ivashov, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, in remarks to the Russian publication, Zavtra, published Thursday. In Ivashov’s view,

“these are serious preparations for war. And not only in and around the northwestern borders of our country, but along Russia’s entire perimeter. The U.S. National Security Strategic, adopted early last year, marked the start of active preparations for the military phase. It was stated there that there exists no multi-polar world, because there is no alternative to American leadership.”

The reason for these military preparations, he said, is that Russia “is quietly, but steadily changing the world.” As a result, America is losing its leadership of the world and blaming the Russians for that.

In his latest weekly interview with New York City radio host John Batchelor, Prof. Stephen Cohen warned that "hot war," not "Cold War" is the danger faced now because of Obama’s and NATO’s actions. Prof. Cohen escalated his attacks on Western policies, by directly comparing the military buildup along the Russian border by NATO to the buildup by Hitler before the launching of Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union in 1941.

There were no parallel buildups of NATO forces at any time during the Cold War, which prompted Cohen to warn that we may already be beyond the danger of a new Cold War, and facing a hot war. US and NATO officials, Cohen warned, have recently made clear this is only the beginning of what will be a very large-scale and permanent amassing of military power on the new Eastern Front. And Moscow, while remembering the German invasion of 1941, is reacting accordingly by mobilizing its own forces on its Western territories and promising more “counter-measures.”

Even scarier is that even though the alleged threat of ongoing “Russian aggression,” which Washington and Brussels officials cite as justification, clearly does not exist, no critical questions about the NATO build-up have appeared in the American mainstream media, only applause and calls for “more and bigger military exercises,” as a recent New York Times editorial put it. 

Could NATO go to war with Russia… and what would happen if it did?

In this account, Russia rapidly expands its war aims by invading the Baltic States, which are NATO members, and world war ensues
By Ian Shields, Anglia Ruskin University

A new book by General Sir Richard Shirreff, Nato’s deputy supreme allied commander for Europe between 2011 and 2014, evokes a potential scenario that leads to a devastating future war with Russia.

The book, 2017 War with Russia, is clearly labelled as a work of fiction. But it portrays a fairly convincing manufactured incident that the fictional president of Russia uses as a causus belli for a clash with NATO. In his account, Russia rapidly expands its war aims by invading the Baltic States, which are NATO members, and world war ensues. Perhaps more worryingly, the author has since told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that such a conflict is “entirely plausible”.

Fact vs fiction

I do not want to give any more away about the book (it is a good and authentic, if gloomy, read). But the general’s underlying political message – clearly articulated in the book’s preface – is that the hollowing out of defence capabilities across the West and its reluctance and inability to stand up to Russia is making war ever more likely. Is this an accurate assessment of the real world?

The novel is reminiscent of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October and the excellent The Third World War: August 1985 by General John Hackett. The latter, written at the height of the Cold War, was conceived as a “future history”, supposedly looking back at the outbreak and subsequent unfolding of a full-blown NATO vs Warsaw Pact war.

Shirreff’s book, however, is a far more overtly political piece, and is deeply critical of the West’s reduced defence spending and its unwillingness – and inability – to stand up to the Russian threat. At first sight, this appears a persuasive case, but on reflection is perhaps slightly less so. 

NATO Energy Security Threatened By Karabakh Conflict
By The Jamestown Foundation

The periodic escalation of violence in and around the separatist Azerbaijani territory of Karabakh routinely raises concerns about this conflict’s threat to regional energy security and pipeline infrastructure. However, few commentaries analyze this issue’s broader geopolitical implications in any detail. The intense fighting between the armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan along the Line of Contact last month—often referred to as the “Four Days War” (April 2–5)—had serious humanitarian repercussions. But the violence also notably underscored the vulnerability of regional energy infrastructure located on Europe’s and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) strategic southeastern flank—namely, the Baku-Supsa and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipelines, the South Caucasus Natural Gas Pipeline, and nearby oil and gas terminals.

On April 5, the “defense ministry” of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic warned that it was prepared to carry out offensive strikes against Azerbaijan’s oil facilities using Iskander, Scud-B and Tochka-U systems (, April 5). It is no secret that Armenia has already deployed anti-aircraft, air-defense and missile-defense systems in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and has held military exercises in Karabakh to simulate possible attacks and air strike scenarios on Azerbaijan’s oil and gas infrastructure (, October 15, 2012). Moreover, former prime minister of Armenia and current member of parliament Hrant Bagratyan, along with retired Armenian Major General Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan, threatened Azerbaijan with the use of nuclear weapons and dirty bombs by the Armenian side (, April 29;, May 3).

Azerbaijan Armenia WAR

""GLOBAL WAR"" before the END of this DECADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Quite Possibly the Dumbest Military Concept Ever: A 'Limited' Nuclear War
By Geoff WilsonWill Saetren

In the event of a rapidly escalating conflict with the Russians, should the United States conduct a “limited” nuclear strike to coerce the enemy to back down? Or, in Cold War nukespeak, should the United States “escalate to deescalate” the situation?

Believe it or not, that is a real question that is being debated in the Pentagon today. And the answer is no. Thinking we can use nuclear weapons in a “limited” way without inviting nuclear catastrophe is a dangerous fantasy.

Here is the hypothetical scenario. Russia decides to annex part, or all of, NATO ally Latvia, much like it did with the Crimean Peninsula. Russian forces cross the border, and NATO is forced to respond with a mixed force of U.S. Army brigades, U.S. Marines, air wings, special forces and allied personnel.

All of the sudden, a full-fledged war is threatening to engulf Northern Europe.

Fearing that the fighting will spill over into the rest of Europe, or even break out in Poland or the Ukraine, the United States launches a “tactical” nuclear strike against Russian forces on the border of Latvia.

The hope is that this will cause Russian commanders to pause amidst the destruction, and take a second to reconsider their options now that nuclear force has been used.

In theory, that pause would be enough time for cooler heads to prevail — and for the State Department to cable the Kremlin and hammer out some kind of ceasefire.

To Pentagon planners, this scenario is a legitimate one.

The Air Force already has plans to field a new, low-yield, air-launched nuclear cruise missile that it refers to as the Long Range Standoff Weapon, which critics argue is tailored for limited nuclear war fighting.

“Beyond deterrence, an LRSO-armed bomber force provides the president with uniquely flexible options in an extreme crisis, particularly the ability to signal intent and control escalation,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top weapons-buyer, told Congress.

But once we’ve opened Pandora’s Box, is it possible to close it again? With thousands of Russian soldiers dead or dying on the Latvian border, would the Russians really just stand down?

Would the United States? 

Nuclear Conflict...............Just ONE Miscalculation Away from becoming YOUR Worse NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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