EU Follows Obama’s Lead Voting To Open the Armories of Europe for Ukraine

[SEE:  Obama’s Russian War Resolution Passes By 411 to 23]

Russia accuses European parliament of gunning for war

kyiv post

President Petro Poroshenko gives a speech as he hands over new military equipment to the Ukrainian forces near the city of Zhytomyr, some 140 km from Kiev, on January 5, 2015.
© SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

Russian officials have accused the European Union of “militancy” in a bitter response to the Jan. 15 European parliament resolution giving member states carte blanche to supply arms to Ukraine.

The head of the Russian Federation Council committee on international affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, denounced the resolution as “especially militant.”

“The European parliamentarians discourage those who are trying to look for dialogue with Russia, not confrontation,” he said.

The European parliament condemned Russia’s “aggressive and expansionist policy, which constitutes a threat to the unity and independence of Ukraine and poses a potential threat to the EU itself.”

In its resolution, parliament urged the European Council to keep in place tough sanctions against Russia and even proposed broadening them into the nuclear and international financial sectors if Putin’s government continues to destabilize Ukraine.

The resolution went on to state that “there are now no objections or legal restrictions to prevent Member States from providing defensive arms to Ukraine” and that “the EU should explore ways to support the Ukrainian government in enhancing its defence capabilities and the protection of Ukraine’s external borders.”

Aleksey Pushkov, the head of the foreign affairs Committee of the Russian Duma, called the resolution “banal and dangerous.”

“By calling to maintain and even enhance sanctions against Russia the European Parliament is supporting tension in Europe,” Pushkov added.

The European Parliament resolved to support the EU’s existing policy of refusing to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and welcomed recently adopted additional sanctions on investment, services and trade relating to Crimea and Sevastopol.

It also highlighted Russia’s “information war” in Europe and called on the EU officials to develop a plan to counter Russian propaganda with their own Russian language programming.

Yet Ukraine was also disappointed with the resolution, which fell short of describing the Russian-backed separatists as terrorists.

President Petro Poroshenko had claimed on Jan. 13 that the European Parliament was preparing to call on the leaders of European Union to place the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic on their list of terrorist organizations.

But European MPs instead condemned “acts of terrorism and criminal behavior of the separatists and other irregular forces in eastern Ukraine,” adding that “according to credible sources, Russia continues to support the separatist militias through a steady flow of military equipment, mercenaries and regular Russian units, including main battle tanks, sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and artillery.”

The Russian war — using proxies and, when needed, Russian regular army troops — in eastern Ukraine has already taken more than 4,700 lives, according to United Nations estimates. On Dec. 18, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law allowing for economic and military support to Ukraine, but the current American policy remains not to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons.

Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at grytsenko@kyivpost.com

Will Greece Nationalize Banks After Latest Bank-Run?

Draghi blackmails Greeks

failed revolution

… and we haven’t even reached the election day
globinfo freexchange
It appears that ECB decided that will not buy Greek bonds, after the systemic banks of the country reported having liquidity problems, only a week before the crucial national elections. It’s important to remind that the Leftist party, SYRIZA, which is determined to terminate austerity policies, precedes in all polls.
From ZH:
Der Spiegel reports after the European close that ECB QE will not include Greek bonds due to their low rating… but will see national central banks buying own-country debt.”
and
… following yesterday’s report that two Greek banks had suffered sufficiently material deposit withdrawals to force them to apply for the unpopular and highly stigmatizing Emergency Liquidity Assistance program with the ECB, now the other two of Greece’s largest banks have also succumbed to reserve depletion after the Greek bank run appears to have gone viral. As Greek Capital.gr reports, now all four Greek banks have requested ELA assistance from the same ECB president who earlier today is said to have unceremoniously kicked out Greece from the ECB’s QE program.”
As predicted, more than two years ago:
… the ECB becomes a corresponding Fed in the European area, “serving” the problematic economies that are excluded from the bond markets, through the print of new money. Therefore, the problematic economies will be loaded with more and more debt which the ECB, i.e. the largest private European banks will hold. Someone could argue that is not something new, since nations were facing huge debts in previous years, because they were indebted to banks through the excessive borrowing from the markets. But in this case, there is an important difference that makes things much worse: it is the cruel conditions imposed by the ECB to states that need to buy money. States that are excluded from markets, are now trapped within the neoliberal economic empire of the eurozone and will be forced to follow new austerity measures every time they need ECB to buy their bonds.
Meanwhile, the banking-media dictatorship in Greece has launched a new propaganda war against SYRIZA’s MP, Rachel Makri this time, who stated that Greece could “print” up to 100 billion euros in an emergency situation. The systemic parrots in the mainstream media and various governmental officials, as well as others from pro-austerity parties, rushed to blame Makri as being irresponsible, dangerous, etc. Systemic-friendly trolls flooded internet with ironic uploads and Samaras’ party, New Democracy, made some tv spots in less than 24 hours, to point the supposed “irresponsibility” of Marki. Another indication that the system acts under absolute panic.
However, the reality is that the country does have the possibility to print euros by itself. In fact, this has been done already by another country, being under a memorandum program, like Greece.
From the Irish Independent, date 15/01/2011: “… the Central Bank of Ireland is financing €51bn of an emergency loan programme by printing its own money. […] A spokesman for the ECB said the Irish Central Bank is itself creating the money it is lending to banks, not borrowing cash from the ECB to fund the payments. The ECB spokesman said the Irish Central Bank can create its own funds if it deems it appropriate, as long as the ECB is notified.” (http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/central-bank-steps-up-its-cash-support-to-irish-banks-financed-by-institution-printing-own-money-26614131.html)
Therefore, the systemic parrots either are lying, or, they should explain why wasn’t allowed to Greece to print its own euros. In any case, we know the answer: because Greece was chosen to be the “guinea pig” for the experiment of the most catastrophic neoliberal policies, and this experiment must be expanded throughout Europe at any cost.
We should wait to see how the ECB will react after the elections depending on the result. Under a specific scenario, already mentioned that “… the ECB will blackmail the government by threatening that will not purchase government bonds, therefore cut liquidity, in case that Greece choose a different path towards the reconstruction of the social state and labor rights, bringing minimum wage at pre-crisis levels, etc.”, and the only solution in this case, would be a fast reaction: “In case that SYRIZA has a secret agenda, and be pressed by the lenders beyond red lines, it could nationalize the central bank and return to the national currency, blowing up eurozone.” (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/12/various-scenarios-for-national.html)
Otherwise, the officials of the European neoliberal economic empire may proceed to the last measure, which would be to remove the right of the eurozone countries to produce their own liquidity and be totally dependent on the ECB. Do they afraid SYRIZA that much? Probably not. What they afraid, is a domino of a rise of the Leftist parties in power in many European countries. As the old political system has been fully neoliberalized and has nothing to offer to the societies other than absolute destruction, the only way that was left, is blackmail. Maybe the time has come for the European people to fight and win the class war.
Read also:

Obama’s High-Stakes Gamble Handing Domination Of Global Oil Market To Saudis

Obama’s, Saudi Arabia’s beheading of U.S. oil will exact a heavy toll

pesonal liberty

oil pricesThe price of oil is sinking faster than the Titanic. The influence on it is Saudi Arabia, which has opened up the spigots, forcing down the price of oil to $50 per barrel compared to $110 last summer. The big winner in the crude sweepstakes is Saudi Arabia, which is increasing its world market share. The big losers are U.S. petroleum and shale oil producers who can no longer turn a profit. And the man with the sword in his hands is President Barack Obama.

Obama opposed U.S. petroleum drilling even before he took office. Yet he eagerly bows to the Saudi monarch, the ailing King Abdullah. Obama has provided enormous military hardware to the Saudis even as Saudi Arabia continues to fund Sunni terrorists, including the Islamic State (ISIS). Equally startling is that Obama has set the stage for a commodity price collapse, which could cause the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression.

Oil insiders believe that the credit Obama has received for the stunning rebound in U.S. petroleum production is contemptible. While the president did promise to open up new areas for exploration, he also clamped down on the offshore drilling following the BP oil spill in April 2010. Obama suspended offshore drilling leases and authorized an investigation of 29 oil rigs in the Gulf. Later, his administration ordered a six-month offshore drilling moratorium enforced by the U.S. Department of the Interior. That ended only when a federal judge lifted the moratorium, finding it too broad, arbitrary and unjustified.

A Forbes headline in March 2012 declared, “President Obama Has An Oil Problem.” The writer, Robert Bradly Jr., wrote: “In addition to dragging its feet on existing oil sources, the Obama administration has taken blatantly anti-oil actions.”

At the same time, the Obama administration has provided enormous support to Riyadh. In 2010, the Obama administration pulled off the largest arms deal ever. It was a $60.5 billion sale to Saudi Arabia of weapons with offensive capabilities.

Now with Obama’s blessing, Saudi overproduction of crude is in full swing. Last year, petroleum prices underwent their second largest annual decline in history. That has been great news for American drivers. But the cost of Saudi oil dominance cannot simply be measured at the gas pump. ConocoPhillips, a major player in the U.S. shale industry, has announced that it will “defer significant investment” in U.S. shale oil until returns look more promising. That isn’t likely until oil prices recover to more than $65 per barrel.

 

Deflation: The coming collapse of commodity prices

The global impact of crashing crude is what worries me most. Last month, Goldman Sachs reported nearly $1 trillion in investments in future oil projects will not happen at today’s prices. That was after looking at what was to be the development of 400 of the world’s largest planned oil and gas fields, not including U.S. shale projects. Factor those, and thousands of good-paying American jobs will disappear.

Obama is playing a dangerous game conspiring with Saudi Arabia. If crude prices continue to fall, as I believe they will, to below $40 per barrel, it will have a crippling impact on the commodity markets. We are almost certain to see Obama’s trickle “down” economics to do far more than just cripple the budding U.S. oil shale industry. I predict that in 2015 every resource industry from agriculture to mining is going to begin a serious decline that may last until the end of this decade.

Last year, billionaire and Obama confidante Warren Buffet was purchasing up wind farms. Buffet is shrewd. In five years, wind farms may be the only farms worth owning. I witnessed it before in the early 1980s when crashing oil prices crippled not only oil-dependent states like Texas and Alaska but also farm and mining states like Nebraska, Iowa and Idaho.

I saw the farming crisis firsthand when I was 22 and writing for a cattle magazine. I already had a general understanding of the boon years of the 1970s and the enormous correction that was occurring then, in the early ’80s, because my uncle owned a 2,000-acre mixed farm. He was lucky to sell out near the top, but many of our family’s friends who knew of no other way of life were bankrupted.

During those first years as a young writer, I would sometimes be driving through farm country. I saw the devastation.

According to Neil E. Harl, an Iowa State economics professor, more than three percent of the 2.4 million farmers in the U.S. left the farm each year in the early 1980s. In 1985, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported net farm income fell by nearly one-third during the first half of that decade. As farm commodity values declined, farmland values plunged. And that broke the backs of tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers.

 

Saudi Arabia and Barack Obama: A sinister alliance?

At my next job as an investment writer, I saw the same havoc in the mining industry. The Idaho Silver Valley, which had provided so many jobs to miners in the ’70s, was abandoned in the ’80s. Those families that stayed on were mostly impoverished as mine upon mine shut down. Today, the region — including surrounding cities like Spokane, Washington, and Great Falls, Montana — is a remnant of what it was during the boon in the ’70s.

It seems Obama is providing too much to Saudi Arabia where Christianity is illegal and where weekly beheadings draw large audiences. Even more disturbing is that Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest financial backer of the worst jihadist groups, including ISIS. WikiLeaks disclosed a 2009 State Department communication by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which read, “[D]onors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

So even as Obama promises to fight Islamic extremism, he is backing the very kingdom that is backing the crazies who want to kill Americans. Others agree, including Larry Klayman, whose article was published last Saturday by WND:

Indeed, under the “leadership” of our “Black-Muslim in Chief” — who favors all things African and Islamic over the rest of us — it is likely that the nation and the world is about to explode at any moment. Things have simply been simmering along for too long for this not to occur at some point.

Obama continues to put America more at risk each passing month. His close relationship with Saudi Arabia should alone have him impeached but of course he is almost untouchable because of his heritage and his powerful friends in and out of government. As we begin 2015, the nation faces an impending deflationary collapse.

Yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers

John Myers is editor of Myers’ Energy and Gold Report. The son of C.V. Myers, the original publisher of Oilweek Magazine, John has worked with two of the world’s largest investment publishers, Phillips and Agora. He was the original editor for Outstanding Investments and has more than 20 years experience as an investment writer. John is a graduate of the University of Calgary. He has worked for Prudential Securities in Spokane, Wash., as a registered investment advisor. His office location in Calgary, Alberta, is just minutes away from the headquarters of some of the biggest players in today’s energy markets. This gives him personal access to everyone from oil CEOs to roughnecks, where he learns secrets from oil insiders he passes on to his subscribers. Plus, during his years in Spokane he cultivated a network of relationships with mining insiders in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

EU Leadership Still Self-Blind To US Evil Intentions for Europe and Russia

[SEE:  West wants to end confrontation with Russia over Ukraine – EU foreign policy chief ]
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini…rejected the idea that the EU’s position on the crisis differs from that of the US.
“It is not true that there is a soft Europe stance, which opposes the US hardline position.”
Mogherini said that Washington’s views on Russia match those of Europe…“everyone wants to get out of the logic of confrontation.”

‘F**k the EU’

Victoria Nuland: US-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Geoffrey R. Pyatt: United States Ambassador to Ukraine

Biden says US ‘embarrassed’ EU into sanctioning Russia over Ukraine

Russia-Today
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

America’s leadership had to embarrass Europe to impose economic hits on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine – even though the EU was opposed to such a motion, US Vice President Joe Biden revealed during a speech at Harvard.

“We’ve given Putin a simple choice: Respect Ukraine’s sovereignty or face increasing consequences,” Biden told a gathering at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics on Thursday.

The consequences were the sanctions which the EU imposed on Russia, first targeting individual politicians and businessmen deemed responsible for the crisis in Ukraine, then switching to the energy, defense, and economic sectors.

“It is true they did not want to do that,” Biden admitted.

“It was America’s leadership and the president of the United States insisting, oft times almost having to embarrass Europe to stand up and take economic hits to impose costs,” the US vice president declared.

AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog

AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog

Those costs deemed behind the ruble’s historic plunge not only forced America’s ExxonMobil to retreat from Russia’s Arctic shelf, but also provoked counter-measures from Moscow, which suspended certain food imports from the EU.

Russia’s counter-sanctions have hit many of the EU’s agricultural states. EU members, particularly those close to Russia, were the most affected by the loss of the Russian market.

For instance, the Netherlands – the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products – is set to lose 300 million euro annually from canceled business with Russia, as it accounts for roughly 10 percent of Dutch exports of vegetables, fruit, and meat.

At the same time, Poland was hit hard by the Kremlin’s sanctions, as its food exports to Russia totaled $1.5 billion in 2013.

Spain, a large exporter of oranges to Russia, is estimated to miss out on 337 million euro ($421 million) in food and agriculture sales, while Italy has estimated its losses at nearly 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion).

Following pressure from local farmers, a 125 million euro EU Commission Common Agricultural Policy fund was established, from which the growers are expected to get some cash, while Amsterdam is willing to cover the cost of transporting excess produce to eight food banks across Holland.

Overall, Moscow’s one-year food embargo against the EU, the US, Norway, Australia, and Canada will block an estimated $9 billion worth of agricultural exports to Russia.

With European countries now at a loss with apple and dairy surplus, it is not exactly clear whether EU producers will be able to return to the Russian markets after the one-year ban expires.

However, this is no secret to the US, as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland remarked on Thursday.

“Implementing sanctions isn’t easy and many countries are paying a steep price. We know that. But history shows that the cost of inaction and disunity in the face of a determined aggressor will be higher,” Nuland said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

Nuland’s reference to necessary action against the “aggressor” might be taken with a grain of salt by the Europeans, as the “F**k the EU” leak is still fresh in their memory.

The four-minute video – titled ‘Maidan puppets,’ referring to Independence Square in Ukraine’s capital – was uploaded by an anonymous user to YouTube.

Nuland was recorded as saying the notoriously known phrase during a phone call with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, as the two were seemingly discussing a US-preferred line-up of the Ukrainian government. It apparently referred to Washington’s policy differences with those of the EU on ways of handling the Ukrainian political crisis, with Nuland suggesting to “glue this thing” with the help of the UN and ignore Brussels.

The US State Department did not deny the authenticity of the video and stressed that Nuland had apologized for the “reported comments.”

Kill the Banker

Kill the Banker

vice

Aftermath of the Wall Street bombing of 1920. Photo by New York Daily News via Getty Images 

A little violence can sometimes work to defend against predatory bankers. Consider the farmers of Le Mars, Iowa. The year was 1933, the height of the Great Depression.

A finance bubble on Wall Street had crashed the economy, the gears of industrial production had ground to a halt, and 13 million Americans had lost their jobs. Across the Corn Belt, farmers couldn’t get fair prices for milk and crops, their incomes plummeted, and their mortgages went unpaid. Seeing opportunity, banks foreclosed on their properties in record numbers, leaving the farmers homeless and destitute.

So they organized. Under the leadership of a boozing, fist-fighting Iowa farmer named Milo Reno, who had a gift for oratory, several thousand farmers across the Midwest struck during 1933, refusing to sell their products. “We’ll eat our wheat and ham and eggs” went the popular doggerel of the movement. “Let them”—the bankers—”eat their gold.”

They called it a farmers’ holiday and named their group the Farmers’ Holiday Association. In speeches across the Midwest, Reno inveighed against “the destructive program of the usurers”—by which he meant, of course, the ruinous policies of Wall Street and the banking industry. Farmers, he said, had been “robbed by a legalized system of racketeering.” He said that the “forces of special privilege” were undermining “the very foundations of justice and freedom upon which this country was founded.” He compared the farmers’ fight to that of the Founders, who had taken up arms. He warned that the farmers might have to “join hands with those who favor the overthrow of government,” a government that he considered a servant of corporations. “You have the power to take the great corporations,” he said, and “shake them into submission.” One of his deputies in Iowa, John Chalmers, ordered FHA men to use “every weapon at their command.” “When I said weapons,” Chalmers added, “I meant weapons.”

In Le Mars, the weapon of choice was the hanging rope. On April 27, 1933, in a series of incidents that would become national news, hundreds of farmers descended on a farm that was being foreclosed under the eye of the local sheriff and his deputies. They smacked the lawmen aside, stopped the foreclosure, and dragged the sheriff to a ball field in town, where they brandished their noose. Instead of hanging the sheriff, however, they went for a bigger prize: the county judge, Charles C. Bradley, who was presiding over the foreclosures.

Bradley was seized at his bench, dragged from the courtroom, driven into the countryside, dumped on a dusty road, stripped naked, “beaten, mauled, smeared with grease and jerked from the ground by a noose as [the] vengeful farmers shouted their protests against his foreclosure activities,” reported the Pittsburgh Press. According to one account, the mob “pried his clenched teeth open with a screwdriver and poured alcohol down his throat.” An oily hubcap was placed on his head, the oil running down his face as the farmers smashed Iowa dirt into his mouth. “That’s his crown,” they said.

The judge was hauled into the air on the hanging rope, until he fell unconscious, and was then hauled up again. When he revived, the farmers told him to pray. “Only a prayer for Divine guidance which Judge Bradley uttered as he knelt in the dust of a country road sobered the mob,” reported the Pittsburgh Press, decrying the event as a harbinger of “open revolution.”

The farmers, knowing they were about to involve themselves in murder, spared Bradley. He was bloodied, covered in filth, humiliated, and this was enough.

The threat of continued unrest fomented by Reno and the FHA had its intended effect: State legislatures across the Midwest enacted moratoriums on farm foreclosures. By 1934, the country was seething with revolt. Industrial laborers in Toledo, Ohio, and Minneapolis, Minnesota; dockworkers across the West Coast; and textile workers from Maine to the Deep South mounted strikes and protests demanding fair pay, worker protections, and union representation. They encountered brute force at the hands of local authorities and thugs in the pay of business interests. The strikers in Toledo and Minneapolis responded not by peaceably dispersing but by fighting back with clubs and rocks. According to the newspapers, a savage battle unfolded between autoworkers and the militia of the Ohio National Guard in Toledo, with the tear-gassed strikers unleashing their own gas barrage against the authorities, “matching shell for shell with the militiamen.” Truck drivers fought in bloody hand-to-hand combat against the enforcers of the pro-business Citizens’ Alliance in the streets of Minneapolis. A prominent corporate leader in the city was said to have announced, “This, this—is revolution!”

Indeed, it was in part the specter of violent revolution during the 1930s that spurred Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Congress to legislate the historic reform of capitalism called the New Deal. The government protected labor from the cruel abuses of big business, legalized unions, established the social security system, and put the usurers on Wall Street under the thumb of the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal watchdogs, locking them in the regulatory cage where they belonged. The people had spoken and forced the government to listen.

Milo Reno of the Farmers’ Holiday Association speaking at Cooper Union in New York City in 1934. Photo by Bettmann/Corbis

Following the Wall Street crash of 2008, which sent the country into the debacle of the Great Recession, I began writing a futurist novel inspired by my readings about the Le Mars revolt. I titled it Kill the Banker, in honor of William “Wild Bill” Langer, two-time governor of North Dakota during the 1930s, US senator from 1941 to 1959, and staunch supporter of the Farmers’ Holiday Association. During a campaign stop at the height of the Depression, he told voters, “Shoot the banker if he comes on your farm. Treat him like a chicken thief.” We don’t have politicians like Wild Bill anymore.

In the novel I imagined a cabal of terrorists who wage a campaign against Wall Street. Like the Red Army Faction—Marxist maniacs who from the 1970s through the 90s spread terror across Europe—my terrorists, who call themselves the Strangers, assassinate members of the elite banking class who have escaped justice. The Strangers go after Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, and Credit Suisse. They bomb the New York Stock Exchange. They have no ideology except slaughter of their perceived enemy, killing for the sake of killing, much as a man makes money for the sake of money—as an expression of power.

The Strangers take their hapless captives from Bank of America to a basement in the mountains of upstate New York, where they hold mock trials that they post to YouTube, passing judgment before the American masses: death by torture. The Wall Streeters protest their innocence as mere cogs in the machine. The Strangers strap them to a steel chair bolted to the floor, piss in their mouths, tear off their fingernails, spear out their eyes, smash their testicles with a ball-peen hammer, remove their intestines with a pair of pliers, string their guts like Christmas lights, and behead the sobbing victims with a rusty saw.

It was a lousy novel from the start, more agitprop than storytelling, and I abandoned the project after 30,000 words of gore, concluding that terrorists are as tediously predictable in fiction as they are loathsome in real life. The farmers of Le Mars would have wanted nothing to do with the Strangers.

Part of my research for the book was the historical precedent of terrorism against Wall Street. Until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995—eclipsed only by the attacks of 9/11—the Wall Street bombing of September 16, 1920, was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil. At noon, a horse and buggy, laden with 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of cast-iron sash weights for shrapnel, pulled up in front of 23 Wall Street, the offices of J. P. Morgan, the richest, most powerful, most ruthless investment banker of his time. Morgan had manipulated the national economy to his benefit, exploited workers, and destroyed lives. He was, like our current crop of financiers, a vicious bastard, and he was the likely target of the bomb.

The driver fled, and minutes later there was a terrible explosion. A “mushroom-shaped cloud of yellowish, green smoke,” said one observer, “mounted to a height of more than 100 feet, the smoke being licked by darting tongues of flame,” as “hundreds of wounded, dumb-stricken, white-faced men and women” fled in panic. Instantly, bodies were “blown to atoms”; a woman’s head, hat still on, was sent hurling into a concrete wall, where it stuck; and “great blotches of blood appeared on the white walls of several of Wall Street’s office buildings.”

Thirty-eight people were killed, 143 wounded. No group ever claimed responsibility, and the crime was never solved. It was likely the work of Italian socialist revolutionaries who had been on a bombing campaign across the US during the previous year, hitting elected officials and law enforcement. The Wall Street bombing was supposed to be their finest hour. Mostly they killed clerks, stenographers, and brokers—lowly office workers. J. P. Morgan wasn’t even in town that day. The attack, which caused $2 million in damage (about $24 million in today’s money), produced in the public only fear and revulsion and a newfound sympathy for Wall Street.

The ideology of revolutionary terrorism targeting big finance in the US originated with a Bavarian-born immigrant named Johann Most, who, upon his arrival in New York in 1882, observed—as accurately then as today—that “whoever looks at America will see: the ship is powered by stupidity, corruption, or prejudice.” He denounced Wall Street and the ruling class as “the reptile brood.” He wrote that “the existing system will be quickest and most radically overthrown by the annihilation of its exponents. Therefore, massacres of the enemies of the people must be set in motion.” In 1885 he published a book, Revolutionary War Science, to bring on the massacre. It had a helpful subtitle: A Little Handbook of Instruction in the Use and Preparation of Nitroglycerine, Dynamite, Gun-Cotton, Fulminating Mercury, Bombs, Fuses, Poisons, Etc.

Most was a deformed runt, his days spent in a fever of resentment, and in the end, though he traveled the country making speeches and fostering hatred, he didn’t throw a single bomb. He did, however, inspire others to eliminate the reptile brood. In 1892, Alexander Berkman, an anarchist agitator, tried to kill Henry Frick, partner of Andrew Carnegie in the Carnegie Steel Company, which was notorious for its maltreatment of workers. Later, Berkman was allegedly involved in the failed 1914 plot to kill industrialist John D. Rockefeller, who had presided over massacres of his striking employees. It was a catalogue of failures, whose sole result, perversely, was to turn public opinion in favor of the enemies of the people.

In the 1970s, carrying the banner of revolutionary destruction, the Weather Underground, a radical offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society, bombed a Bank of America branch as part of an anti-capitalist campaign whose targets included military installations, courthouses, corporate headquarters, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the US Capitol building. The Weathermen, as they were known, were gentlemanly in their attacks: Prior to detonation, they often issued an anonymous warning to evacuate the targeted site, in order that no person would be harmed. The scores of bombings in the 70s proved totally ineffective in achieving the Weathermen’s main goal: “the creation of a mass revolutionary movement” for the overthrow of the US government.

An unidentified man stands in the blown-out doorway of a downtown Oklahoma City business after the bombing in 1995. Photo by Rick Bowmer/AP 

On September 29, 2009, a 64-year-old Phoenix resident named Kurt Aho, who was suffering from cancer, stood outside his foreclosed home with a .357 Magnum and shot out the tires of two trucks sitting in his driveway. It was three years after the bursting of the housing bubble, and almost exactly one year after the onset of the Great Recession. Millions of homeowners, desperate and fearful, without jobs or revenue, couldn’t keep up with their mortgage payments. And the banksters came calling to kick them out.

The cars belonged to two real estate investors who said they had purchased Aho’s home out of foreclosure from Bank of America. Now they wanted to see their new property. Aho was in shock. He had lived in the house for 29 years, had raised his children there.

According to his daughter, Tammy Aho, he was experiencing financial troubles. He was a construction contractor. Unable to find enough work, he was living off credit and struggling with his illness. In June 2009, Aho had contacted Bank of America to ask for a loan modification. Bank representatives told him—”not directly,” said Tammy, “but in a roundabout way”—that he needed to fall behind on his payments. “They told him that if you get six months behind on your mortgage they will help you modify the loan.”

It would be a strategic default. He followed the advice. Bank of America assured him the modification was being processed. They assured him of this up to the very minute the property was sold at auction on September 29, when Aho found the two investors standing on his lawn.

Aho asked the investors for proof of ownership, but they had none at hand. They claimed the paperwork was still being completed. He told them to get off the property. They refused. That’s when the gun came out and the tires went flat and the two men fled. Aho, for the moment, had stopped the taking of his home.

Aho was responding not simply to his own personal crisis but to the widespread perception that the banks were coming after everyone. Starting roughly in 2000, more than a dozen financial institutions, Bank of America most prominently, colluded with mortgage lenders to extend home loans to anyone who could fog a mirror—basically a long line of suckers who were told they could own a big house with only a waitress’s tips. These risky loans, pooled into mortgage-backed securities that the banks knew to be lousy investments, were marketed as AAA-rated bonds and sold to institutional investors worldwide for trillions of dollars.

The banks, flush with cash, pumped more money into more shoddy home loans, with the lenders on the Street scamming to get more warm bodies to sign on the line. Real estate prices skyrocketed in the largest financial bubble in history. And when it burst, producing this country’s most severe housing-market collapse ever—worse than during the Great Depression—homeowners like Aho were left holding overpriced mortgages on houses whose real value had plummeted.

Between 1990 and 2014, the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors spent $3.8 billion lobbying Congress, and it was during those years that lawmakers in both parties increasingly did the bidding of their buyers by massively deregulating the finance industry. Congress overturned FDR’s banking reforms of the 1930s, allowing mega-mergers of banking, securities, and insurance companies. It relaxed the laws governing the operations of the mega-banks and opened financial markets to the abuses of instruments like mortgage-backed securities. And in the revolving door of corporatocracy and government, by the mid 1990s the bankers themselves had nailed jobs heading up the very institutions—the Federal Reserve, the SEC, the Department of the Treasury—mandated to enforce what few laws remained to keep the industry from preying whole-hog on the public.

Bank of America eventually settled at least 21 lawsuits from investors and regulators over securities fraud related to its peddling worthless mortgage-backed securities. The gamut of its frauds ranged from the obscene sophistication of junk mortgage bonds to the paper-pushing thuggery of predatory lending and unlawful foreclosure. According to the National Association of Attorneys General, Bank of America was among five mega-banks that organized the infamous “robo-signing” of illegal foreclosure affidavits, producing forged and fabricated documents to speed the eviction of homeowners so that the properties could be re-sold for more profit.

The bank played cruel games with homeowners, routinely promising them loan modifications—as in the case of Kurt Aho—only to claim to lose the paperwork, bullying ahead with the foreclosure. A class-action suit settled last February found the bank engaged in a “kickback scheme inflating the cost of insurance that homeowners were forced to buy.” The Department of Justice reported that one of the bank’s subsidiaries “wrongfully foreclosed upon active duty servicemembers without first obtaining court orders.” According to investigative journalist Matt Taibbi, the totality of Bank of America’s corruption and venality meant rigged bids in 2008’s multitrillion municipal bond market, dubious arbitration disputes with its credit-card holders, and rampant charging of account holders with bogus overdraft fees, robbing its own customers of $4.5 billion.

And this is just Bank of America. At least a dozen other large banks and mortgage lenders have been implicated in similar frauds.

Instead of handing out prison sentences, the government gave bailouts to Bank of America and its allies. The company would have flushed itself down the shitter after the 2008 crash if the Department of the Treasury hadn’t stepped in with a $45 billion infusion of cash in 2009. By 2011, according to Taibbi, the Federal Reserve had put taxpayers on the hook for as much as $55 trillion of the bank’s bad investments.

The tens of billions of dollars in fines forced by federal regulators on Bank of America and a dozen other financial behemoths were pittances measured against the real cost to the economy of the bank-created bubble and crash, which the US Government Accountability Office has conservatively estimated at $12.8 trillion. The government nevertheless crowed victory over a chastised Wall Street. Congress’s own specially appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission found that executives at the highest level likely knew about—and possibly even condoned—the frauds committed by their companies. Yet only one executive went to jail. In a nation whose government has been captured by its bankers, this farce of enforcement, effectively a legalized system of racketeering, is the accepted norm.

Liberty Plaza in New York City on September 11, 2001. Photo by Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

Yet those who fought back against Wall Street did go to jail, or worse. In May 2009, for example, Daniel Gherman defended his home in Riverside, California, by booby-trapping it with phony bombs after it had been foreclosed. The bombs were ineffectual, but the homeowner was charged with four counts of possessing facsimile explosives.

In July 2010, a homeowner facing foreclosure drove his car to a PNC bank branch in Illinois late one evening and ignited a bomb, destroying the car and shattering the windows of the bank. No one was hurt, and the homeowner, David Whitesell, waited across the street for the cops to arrive. It’s been reported that his intention was to make a political statement. He was charged with arson and criminal damage to property with an incendiary device.

In February 2011, a man named Elias Mercado, of San Marcos, California, drove his car into the front door of a Bank of America branch at 4 AM. According to news reports, he plowed through two sets of glass double doors and hit a coffee table, a wall, a cubicle, a teller counter, and several plants. He backed up two times, hitting more furniture, and departed via the newly created exit where the double doors had stood. His car left a trail of bank parts, and he was later caught and charged with burglary of a building and evading arrest.

In April 2012, a man named James Ferrario, armed with an assault rifle, gunned down and killed a sheriff’s deputy and locksmith in Modesto, California, as the two men served an eviction on his apartment. And so on. A man in Florida, charged with arson and attempted manslaughter, set his home on fire when it was foreclosed. Another Florida man bulldozed his home to the ground before the bank could seize it. A California man fearing homelessness and suffering from a fatal illness robbed a Bank of America of $107,000 to fund his 17 percent mortgage.

It’s a depressing litany. No citizens came to their aid, no farmers with a rope rallied at their door, no Homeowners’ Holiday Association had their backs. The acts of defiance were rabid, isolated, hopeless, and ultimately meaningless.

Foreclosure #2, St. George, Utah, 2007. Photo by Steven B. Smith

In September 2011, Occupy Wall Street erupted on the scene. Here was a movement that held out the promise of uniting against the banking industry. I spent a good deal of time at Zuccotti Park—the protesters’ headquarters—as a reporter, though I was also a believer in the movement. When I saw a young woman holding a sign that said WALL STREET: THE ENEMY OF HUMANITY, I wanted to hug her. I wanted to tell her about Milo Reno and Wild Bill Langer.

The postmortem offered by the media was that the movement’s inability to formulate tangible goals, its lack of demands, its steadfast adherence to the principles of “non-hierarchy,” its refusal to elect or bow to a leadership, its unwillingness to embrace the traditional system of interest-group politics—all resulted in its self-destruction. Occupy, we were meant to believe, committed suicide because of its untenable framework.

This was not the whole story, of course. A movement that vowed to undo Wall Street was undone, at least in part, by federal and state and local governments bent on protecting Wall Street. We know this because of the work of the nonprofit Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which in 2012 obtained a ream of documents from the US Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security—memos, emails, briefings—detailing how Occupy was targeted for destruction. The documents show that the FBI, the DHS, and local police departments coordinated to surveil, infiltrate, and undermine Occupy encampments across the nation.

“From its inception the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF. Anti-terrorist branches of the FBI swung into action to deal with the threat of the Occupiers—who, it should be remembered, avowed and practiced a philosophy of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience. The heavily redacted documents even state that members of the Occupy movement in New York, Seattle, Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, Texas, were targeted for assassination by a person or persons the FBI refused to identify. According to the documents, “[ name redacted] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.” The FBI never informed Occupiers of the danger.

According to Verheyden-Hilliard, instead of protecting citizens from possible assassination, federal law enforcement ended up as “a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.” And when the final blow came, as journalist Dave Lindorff reported, the FBI and DHS helped local law enforcement plan and execute the raids on the encampments that drove out the Occupiers in Zuccotti Park and in dozens of other cities. Those raids were characterized by a terrific show of force. Beating, tear-gassing, mass arrest of peaceful protesters: This is how Occupy came to an end. The Occupiers offered no organized resistance. They scattered like leaves.

Sociologist Max Weber once observed that “the modern state is a compulsory association which organizes domination. It [seeks] to monopolize the legitimate use of physical force as a means of domination.” This monopoly on violence is the distinguishing characteristic of the modern nation-state, according to Weber. But Weber warns that the state’s use of physical force comes with a caveat: The state must prove its legitimacy by protecting the interests of the public—say, when police defend a crowd against a gun-wielding maniac.

The maniacs on Wall Street, of course, have friends at the highest rungs of government—a bought-and-sold government whose work as a servant of the wealthy and the powerful is unexcelled, but whose legitimacy as a protector of the public interest looks increasingly suspect. The people have a moral right to rise up against such a government and, ultimately, to question its monopoly on violence; this is the imperative of revolution. Good luck with that in the age of crowd-control devices, militarized police units, Hellfire drones, mass-surveillance systems, and the panoply of domestic laws that render even peaceful protest a potentially criminal act. The apparatus of state domination has grown ever larger, more powerful, complex, effective, and terrifying—at the same time, the domination of the state by corporate interests has been perfected as never before. One doubts the farmers of Le Mars these days would survive ten minutes with their pathetic length of hanging rope.

Police arrest demonstrators of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Photo by Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos

When Kurt Aho shot out the tires of the cars of the two investors, a swarm of Phoenix police officers descended on his residence, including an armored-car unit, a SWAT unit, and sniper teams on adjacent rooftops. According to police, Aho was told to come out of the house, drop his weapon, and approach the armored car with his hands over his head. He appeared in his doorway, half-dressed, pistol in one hand, a beer in the other. There was a round of negotiations. Aho refused to depart from the premises. “You’re gonna have to kill me,” he said.

Tammy Aho raced to her father’s house and pleaded with officers to let her talk with him. She had recently lost her own house to foreclosure, and she was in the process of moving in with her father. “Not only would he be homeless if we lost this place,” Tammy told me—”my kids and I would be homeless.”

The cops rebuffed her. “I told the police, if you’re gonna shoot him, shoot him in the knees—buckle his knees. But they didn’t listen.”

An hour passed in the standoff. Kurt drank his beer. What happened next is disputed. Police claimed that Kurt opened fire, and the police answered with rubber bullets, hitting him in the arm and knocking him down. Tammy Aho says the cops fired without provocation, and that only then did Aho squeeze off several rounds, hitting the armored car. A well-placed bullet in his chest killed him instantly on his front lawn. “After they killed him,” Tammy told me, “the cops sat around eating pizza and taking pictures of each other and laughing like it was no big deal.”

The Next Economic Crisis, the Real Crisis, Will Exceed $100 Trillion

The Real Crisis Will Be North of $100 Trillion

zero hedge

The 2008 crash was a warm up.

 

Many investors think that the markets could never have a crash again. They think that the 2008 meltdown was a one in 100 years crisis.

 

They are wrong.

 

The 2008 Crisis was a stock and investment bank crisis. But it was not THE Crisis. THE Crisis concerns the biggest bubble in financial history: the epic Bond bubble…

 

If you need proof that bonds are in a truly epic bubble… one that will implode the financial system when it breaks… consider that half of ALL government bonds in the world currently yield less than 1%.

 

What is clear is that the world has become addicted to central bank stimulus. Bank of America said 56pc of global GDP is currently supported by zero interest rates, and so are 83pc of the free-floating equities on global bourses. Half of all government bonds in the world yield less that 1pc. Roughly 1.4bn people are experiencing negative rates in one form or another.

 

These are astonishing figures, evidence of a 1930s-style depression, albeit one that is still contained. Nobody knows what will happen as the Fed tries to break out of the stimulus trap, including Fed officials themselves.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/oilprices/11283875/Bank-of-America-sees-50-oil-as-Opec-dies.html

 

Why are yields this low?

 

Because, by holdings interest rates at zero or even negative, global Central Banks have forced investors to pile into bonds in search of yield (stocks are too risky for many of the largest pools of capital).

 

When investors pile into bonds, bonds rally, which drives yields lower. This has been reinforced by the fact that Central Banks have been engaging in or promising QE (buying Government debt) consistently for the last five years. So investors have been front-running the Fed and other Central Banks.

 

After all… if you know a Central Bank will buy your bond at a price that is higher from where the market prices it… you effectively know there is a “bigger fool” waiting in the wings.

 

The end result?

 

The bond bubble today is over $100 trillion. When you include the derivatives that trade based on bonds it’s more like $500 TRILLION. And it’s growing by trillions of dollars every month (the US issued $1 trillion in new debt in the last 8 weeks alone).

 

When this thing bursts it’s going to be an absolute disaster as it will involve entire countries going bust.

 

If you’ve yet to take action to prepare for the second round of the financial crisis, we offer a FREE investment report Financial Crisis “Round Two” Survival Guide that outlines easy, simple to follow strategies you can use to not only protect your portfolio from a market downturn, but actually produce profits.

 

You can pick up a FREE copy at:

http://www.phoenixcapitalmarketing.com/roundtwo.html

 

Best Regards

Phoenix Capital Research

Anti-Russian Economic Warfare—Cutting Russia Off from SWIFT Is An Act of War

The head of VTB: Disabling Russian banks from SWIFT would mean war

CypLive cyprus

Disabling Russian banks from the international payment system SWIFT would have meant war, the head of VTB Andrey Kostin in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, which is published in Wednesday night online edition.

“In my personal opinion, if you will put this kind of sanctions, it would mean war,” – he said, adding that in this case, the US Ambassador to Russia should leave the same day.

Kostin also said it is the banking system, which is largely dependent on the euro and the dollar is one of the most vulnerable of the Russian economy.

Anyway, Russia has a backup plan, and in the event of such a development, said Costin. Previously, he pointed out that the VTB Group is in talks with the Savings Bank on the establishment of an alternative payment system.

SWIFT – Society for Worldwide Interbank telecommunications system provides 1,8 billion messages per year; per day via the SWIFT network are payment orders over 6 trillion dollars, it involves more than 10 thousand financial institutions in 210 countries.

By statute SWIFT, in each country are community group members and group members. In Russia, they are united by association “ROSSWIFT.” According to “ROSSWIFT”, the number of users of the SWIFT system, Russia ranks second in the world after the United States.