Wednesday 30 April 2014

Fedster Day.

Baltic Dry Index. 949 -12

LIR Gold Target in 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

"The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at no cost."

Dr. B. S. Bernanke. November 2002.

Yes it’s yet another day when we all await the divinations of high priests of Mammon in Washington, in their ever more desperate attempt at centrally planning the final bubble in the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money. In this latest iteration of mankind’s folly, trillions of new unrepayable global debt has been run up, to try to keep the illusion of recovery from the colossal crash of the casino gambling US dollar reserve financial system 2008-2009. We will all now get rich by washing each other’s cars and laundry, and betting on the new tulips, Facebook and twitter. In this final blow-off phase of the Fed’s final bubble, with free money still flooding out of the Fed but supposedly coming to an end, the Great Vampire Squids will undergo a feeding frenzy of mega takeovers, dodgy refinancing’s, and the ultimate in Ponzi schemes.  The Bernie Madoff prize in ultimate dishonesty goes to the Fedster’s of 1987-2014.

Below, MarketWatch’s take of today’s supposed non-event. “Move along now, nothing to see here.” Keep buying stocks to fund the High Frequency Trading thieves.

"We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though."

Dr. B. S. Bernanke. 2005.

April 29, 2014, 2:47 p.m. EDT

No fireworks expected at Fed meeting

Incremental taper seen continuing

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — After intense market gyrations in the wake of their mid-March meeting, Federal Reserve officials are aiming for peace and quiet at the end of their two-day policy meeting this week.

“We expect no fireworks at the April gathering,” said Michelle Girard, chief U.S. economist at RBS, in a research note.

It would be very surprising if there were any material changes in the policy statement,” agreed Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP.

The Fed statement will be released at 2 p.m. Eastern. There will not be a press conference or new economic forecasts to “stir the pot,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley.

At the meeting, the Fed is widely seen deciding to continue to taper its bond purchase program by $10 billion, bringing the purchase pace down to $45 billion per month, making this the fourth meeting in a row with a $10 billion reduction in bond purchases.

The central bank’s policy statement could be a little more upbeat on the margin, as recent economic data has supported the central bank’s conclusion that economic growth was only temporarily held down in the first quarter by winter storms.

In March, the Fed statement said that the economy slowed in March “in part” because of winter storms.

The first quarter gross domestic product report will be released early Wednesday well before the end of the Fed’s meeting at 2 p.m. Eastern and is widely expected to be dismal.

But economists say that most recent economic data has confirmed a strong bounce back in the second quarter.

Fed officials believe the economy is on track to slowly improve in the second half of the year and could be strong enough for the central bank to begin to raise short-term interest rates in the second half of 2015.

But, tapering and higher future interest rates, make for very nervous one percenters. Greater fool markets rely on their always being that greater fool  to sell out too. With the Fed allegedly calling time on greater fools with the prospects of higher interest rates and an end to QE and ZIRP, (I’ll believe it once it happens, since an end to both triggers the crash they were started to prevent,) we have just about run out of Greater Fools. We are very close to our Bernie Madoff Moment.

Below, the shine falls off today’s tulips.

"With respect to their safety, derivatives, for the most part, are traded among very sophisticated financial institutions and individuals who have considerable incentive to understand them and to use them properly."

Dr. B. S. Bernanke. November 2005.

April 29, 2014, 6:15 p.m. EDT

Twitter, eBay shares fall after hours

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Twitter Inc. shares fell in the extended session Tuesday after the company reported fewer than expected active monthly users. EBay Inc. and Express Scripts Holding Co. shares also fell in a generally downbeat after-hours session.

Twitter TWTR -11.22%  shares fell 10.4% to $38.18 on very heavy volume after the microblogging platform said it averaged 255 million monthly users at the end of March, when analysts were looking for an average of 257 million. Twitter shares had the highest volume of any stock after hours with more than 8.6 million shares exchanging hands.

The company reported adjusted results of break-even for the quarter on revenue of $250.5 million. Analysts surveyed by FactSet estimated a loss of 3 cents a share on revenue of $241.5 million. Shares of Twitter closed up 4.6% at $42.62 during the regular session Tuesday.


April 29, 2014, 9:49 a.m. EDT

Why teens are rebelling against Facebook

Twitter has fared better at holding on to younger users

Facebook FB -0.89%   may be the biggest social network on the planet with 1 billion-plus users, but it’s not beating Twitter in every way. Twitter increasingly skews toward younger users, new research finds.

Teens are leaving bigger social networks for the privacy of messaging apps, but experts say Twitter is managing to hold on to more of this sought-after younger demographic than its bigger rival. The percentage of teens active on Facebook dropped by 9% during 2013 and by 7% on YouTube, according to a global survey of over 40,000 Internet users by research firm GlobalWebIndex — but only fell by 3% on Twitter. Twitter is also the preferred social network by 27% of adolescents versus 23% for Facebook, according to the “Spring 2014” survey of 7,500 U.S. teens by Piper Jaffray; in Spring 2013, Facebook beat Twitter by 33% to 30%. (Facebook declined to comment.)

“Twitter still has the cool factor,” says Daniel Miller, a professor of anthropology at University College London who is currently studying students’ use of social networks. Teens use Facebook to send party invites and communicate with their families, but they mostly use Twitter to communicate with each other, he says. 
“This has no relation to what you and I know about Twitter,” Miller adds. They use it for instant messaging, posting images and celebrity news, he says. Jason Mander, head of trends at GlobalWebIndex, agrees. 
“Twitter hasn’t been around for as long as Facebook and also has a younger age profile in terms of its active users, making it feel a little more relevant for some younger users,” he says

Next, more “public conditioning” in America’s relentless push for war with Russia over their botched coup in Kiev. We are now mere pawns in a global game of putsch and counter putsch, an American power play intended to slice and dice up Russia. From a Russian perspective, an existential game that always ends in a nuclear exchange. Below, America’s discredited Secretary of State makes yet another dubious claim.

"If current trends continue, the typical U.S. worker will be considerably more productive several decades from now. Thus, one might argue that letting future generations bear the burden of population aging is appropriate, as they will likely be richer than we are even taking that burden into account."

Dr. B. S. Bernanke. 2006.

Ukraine separatists push east as US intercepts Moscow orders

John Kerry says US has roof that Russia is behind rebellion in country's east, as militants seize regional government building in Luhansk

By Roland Oliphant, in Slavyansk and Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
9:03PM BST 29 Apr 2014
Hundreds of pro-Russian separatists, some armed with assault rifles, seized government buildings and laid siege to police headquarters in a second Ukrainian regional capital on Tuesday as they expanded the reach of their rebellion against Kiev.

Their storming of regional administration and prosecutor's office in Luhansk, just 15 miles from the Russian border, came as John Kerry, the US secretary of state, revealed that American eavesdroppers have overheard intelligence operatives being directed by Moscow.

"We know exactly who's giving those orders, we know where they are coming from," he said, in remarks to a private meeting that were leaked on Tuesday.

"Intel is producing taped conversations of intelligence operatives taking their orders from Moscow and everybody can tell the difference in the accents, in the idioms, in the language."

The new seizures in Luhansk, 80 miles east of the centre of the rebellion in Donetsk, suggest that the separatists are continuing the pattern of occupations that has spread across eastern Ukraine over the past month.

----The leaked tape of John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, speaking on Friday, highlighted American concerns over operations run by the GRU inside East Ukraine.

"It's not an accident that you have some of the same people identified who were in Crimea and in Georgia and who are now in east Ukraine," he said, according to the Daily Beast website. "This is insulting to everybody's intelligence, let alone to our notions about how we ought to be behaving in the 21st century. It's thuggism, it's rogue state-ism. It's the worst order of behaviour."

In continental European news, the news was more of the same. In our new lawless era, dodgy Swizz banksters playing fast and loose with US tax laws. Why do these banks still have US banking licences? Tax and work shy Greeks, remaining true to form.  They should have dumped the euro and stuffed Europe’s banksters while they had the chance. Now with a government run from Berlin, it’s like being back under the Ottoman Turks. The Bilderberger euro was never meant to be like this.

"At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency."

Dr. B. S. Bernanke. 2007.

Swiss Enabler to Plead Guilty in Credit Suisse Tax Case

Apr 29, 2014 10:27 PM GMT
The founder of a Swiss trust company that federal prosecutors say worked with Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) to help American clients evade taxes is expected to plead guilty tomorrow in Virginia, according to court records.

Josef Dorig will appear in federal court in Alexandria, where he was arrested today and released on $150,000 bail, records show. Dorig was indicted in 2011 with seven Credit Suisse bankers on a charge of conspiring to help the bank’s U.S. clients hide $4 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.

Dorig’s guilty plea would follow that of former Credit Suisse banker Andreas Bachmann, who admitted on March 12 that he helped American clients evade taxes. Bachmann is cooperating with prosecutors amid a U.S. probe of Credit Suisse, the largest of 14 Swiss banks under U.S. criminal investigation in a crackdown on offshore tax evasion.

Bachmann admitted his guilt after a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said Credit Suisse helped 22,000 Americans hide as much as $10 billion from the IRS. Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan apologized to the panel at a Feb. 26 hearing, saying a small group of Swiss-based bankers appear to have broken U.S. law and fooled top managers.

He said bankers worked with outside intermediaries to help U.S. clients set up offshore shell entities with money deposited at Credit Suisse in the names of the entities rather than the clients. Such conduct, Dougan said, was egregious.

----In pleading guilty, Bachmann admitted he conspired with Dorig, who worked at a Credit Suisse subsidiary to help U.S. customers open secret accounts and set up nominee accounts in tax havens.

Credit Suisse said in 1997 it was “too risky” for Dorig to form such entities within the bank. Instead, the bank “announced that the formation and management of nominee tax havens should be done from outside,” Bachmann admitted.

Dorig then formed a Swiss trust company in Zurich, according to the indictment.

Greek Nightclub Basements Focus of Tax-Evasion Dragnets

Apr 29, 2014 11:01 PM GMT
It’s Saturday night going on Sunday morning at a club near the gated homes of the Greek elite in northern Athens as two men and a woman in business suits push through the crowd and demand to see the cash register.

The manager sighs. It’s the tax man.

The inspectors are the new face of Greece’s fight against an age-old problem of tax evasion. Their mission: to check whether the club has given customers automated receipts that allow officials to track sales. In Greece, clubs, bars and restaurants have often avoided that paper trail to understate their revenue and reduce income- and sales-tax payments.

As the country capitalizes on its first bond sale in four years and weans itself off 240 billion euros ($331 billion) in international loans, the authorities still must prove they can collect enough taxes to survive without aid. Even performing the most basic of state duties means overturning a tax-dodging culture rooted in centuries of occupation by Ottoman Turks followed by decades of apathy by the Greek state.

----The scale of the shadow economy illustrates the potential for Greece to transform its finances by clamping down on tax evasion. Undeclared activity was 24 percent of output in 2012, compared with a European Union average of 15 percent, and concealed work averaged 25 percent between 1995 and 2006, the EU says. Even government officials recognize the problem had become endemic.

“Historical and political factors, including a weak state, gave rise to widespread tax evasion in Greece,” said Aikaterini Savvaidou, a government adviser and tax-law lecturer at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. “For many years, Greeks knew they could get away with it. That’s slowly changing as the law and government controls improve.”

----Bloomberg News observed about 20 surprise inspections in Athens over a recent weekend on the condition that the names of the targeted businesses, the people involved and their precise locations were withheld. The missions showed both how much the Greek government is doing to tackle tax evasion and how far Greek society still has to go to accept the crackdown.

At the club in Athens’s affluent northern neighborhood, the staff members keep serving drinks and try to avoid eye contact as the inspectors stand at the bar and the manager prints a list of the night’s sales. The boss suffers an anxious half-hour wait as the officials, with dance music blaring, retreat to a table near the toilets to study the papers before concluding there’s been no violation.

We end today with yet more disarray in UK politics. As Scotland stumbles its way towards the breakup of the United Kingdom, the UK’s weak coalition government can’t get out of its own way. Both parties in it have deeply alienated their former base. Only the incredible incompetence of the opposition leadership, prevents for the time being, a John Major like rout. In the run up to the Scottish devolution referendum, and next year’s general election, politic’s in the UK is about to get shrill and ugly. Pounds anyone?

"It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve – nor would it be appropriate – to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions."

Dr. B. S. Bernanke. 2007.

Nigel Farage could become MP within weeks after Mercer quits

Nigel Farage said he is giving 'serious consideration' to standing after former Tory minister Patrick Mercer stepped down over cash for questions scandal

Nigel Farage could win a seat at Westminster within weeks after a disgraced Conservative backbencher quit the Commons and forced an unexpected by-election.

In a significant blow to the Tories, Patrick Mercer stepped down as MP for Newark on Tuesday night, only days before he was due to be suspended from Parliament for six months.

His decision comes after a joint investigation by The Telegraph and the BBC’s Panorama programme disclosed that Mr Mercer had tabled a series of parliamentary questions and put down a motion after accepting £4,000 from undercover reporters.

David Cameron now faces the prospect of Mr Farage, the UK Independence Party leader, mounting a serious challenge in what was one of the Conservatives’ safest seats, with a 16,000 majority.

----The by-election will follow days after the May 22 European elections, in which Ukip is expected to humiliate the Tories.

In a statement, Mr Mercer said he was “ashamed” of his actions but gave only muted support for the new Conservative candidate, Robert Jenrick, 32, a father of two who is the business director at Christie’s auction house.

Mr Mercer said: “I’m an ex-soldier and I believe that when I’ve got something wrong, you’ve got to fess up and get on with it, no point in shilly-shallying. What’s happened has happened and I’m ashamed of it.

As he made his statement on College Green, outside the Houses of Parliament, Mr Mercer was flanked by Bernard Jenkin MP, a Tory rebel who is seen as a critic of the Prime Minister, and Col Bob Stewart, a Tory MP who served with the Army in Bosnia.

Asked whether he would like Mr Farage to stand in his former seat, Mr Mercer smiled but declined to reply.
Lord Ashcroft, the former deputy chairman of the party who has been critical of Mr Cameron, said later: “David Cameron should not be surprised that Patrick Mercer has given him a teeny weeny headache. What goes around etc.”

"The Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt."

Dr. B. S. Bernanke. 2009.

At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 53.23 Moz, Eligible 121.32 Moz, Total 174.55 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today more on “Bubbleland.” The Fedster’s mismanaged central bank planned and distorted, wealth destroying, mis and mal-allocation of capital. Thanks to the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money we have become the new Soviet Union. When this Great Delusion ends, don’t expect much of a different outcome. Stay long fully paid up physical precious metals. We are one Lehman, one war, one recession, one El Nino, one implosion in Argentina, Brazil, China, Turkey, South Africa, the European Union, away from the end of the Great Nixonian Error as we knew it.

Below, another Bernocchio bubble meets its end.

Well, I Did Tell You So: The Texas Gas Bubble Massacre (TXU) Was Bankrupt From Day One

by David Stockman • 
n light of today’s TXU bankruptcy filing, the following excerpt from Chapter 25 of The Great Deformation: The Corruption Of Capitalism In America is possibly salient.  It shows that the largest LBO in history—-a monster $47 billion deal—-was well and truly bankrupt from day one. And the Fed’s foolish “wealth effects” policy of coddling Wall Street was effectively the mid-wife to disaster.

The wildest speculators in Leo Melamed’s pork-belly rings at the Chicago Merc could never have dreamed up a commodity trade as fantastical as that underlying the $47 billion LBO of TXU Corporation. It was basically a bet on a truly aberrational price gap between cheap coal and expensive natural gas—a “fuels arb”—that couldn’t possibly last. So the largest LBO in history was the ultimate folly of bubble finance.

Electric power utilities are normally stable generators of cash flow, plod- ding along a tepid path of growth. But TXU’s financial results in the year before its February 2007 buyout deal had been mercurial, making its ini- tially benign leverage ratios an illusion. Thus, TXU had posted about $11 billion of revenue and $4.5 billion of operating income prior to the buyout, but by fiscal 2011 the company’s sales were down by 35 percent, to $7 billion, and operating income was just $960 million. Its bottom line had plummeted by nearly 80 percent from the pre-LBO level.
Accordingly, the company’s leverage ratio has become a horror show. Its fiscal 2011 debt stood at $36 billion and thereby amounted to nearly thirty-eight times its reported operating income. In LBO land that ratio is beyond the pale—it’s a veritable financial freak.

How the largest LBO in history ended up this far off the deep end is a crucial question because it goes right to the heart of the great deformation of finance. The TXU deal is the financial “Vietnam” of the Greenspan bubble era, not some dismissible aberration from the main events. It was sponsored by the “best and brightest” in the private equity world including KKR, the founding fathers of LBOs, and David Bonderman’s TPG, which was also a successful LBO pioneer of legendary rank.

Since the equity portion of the financing at $8 billion was only 17 per-
cent of the total capitalization, TXU’s existing $12 billion of conventional utility debt had to be tripled, to $38 billion, in order to close the deal. Ac- cordingly, Wall Street had a money orgy coming and going. Fees on the new deal exceeded $1 billion, and at the LBO closing there was an epic $32 billion payday for selling shareholders, including the hedge funds which had front-run the deal.

At the time, the reckless wager embodied in the TXU buyout was ration- alized as nothing special. The purchase price at 8.5 times EBITDA was purportedly in line with the 7.9X average for publicly traded utilities. Yet when the onion was peeled back by a year or two it became clear that the buyout was being set up at a lunatic multiple: an astonishing 18X the company’s EBITDA in 2004.

This jarring difference reflected the fact that TXU’s income was tem- porarily and drastically inflated by a utility deregulation bubble floating on top of a natural gas bubble. Under the Texas deregulation scheme, wholesale electric power prices were set by the marginal cost of supply, which was natural gas fired power plants. But TXU generated most of its power from lignite coal and uranium, so when natural gas prices soared its own fuel costs remained at rock bottom. The company’s revenue margin over the cost of fuel, therefore, also soared, rising from 38 percent in 2004 to nearly 60 percent in 2006. The gain was pure profit.

----This debt-driven explosion of reserves, production, and injected storage eventually left giant drillers like Chesapeake gasping for solvency; massive new gas supplies caused prices to steadily weaken and then crash. By the spring of 2012, natural gas was trading at a price so devastatingly low ($2.50 per Mcf ) that even the monster of the gas patch, ExxonMobil, cried uncle. “We are losing our shirts” complained its CEO, Rex Tillerson.

With little prospect that natural gas will revive anytime soon, TXU’s rev- enues and operating income will remain in the sub-basement. The $36 bil lion of LBO debt raised at the top of the Greenspan bubble is therefore almost certain to default owing, ironically, to the aftershocks of the even larger debt bubble which fueled the fracking binge.

The larger point is that artificially cheap debt causes profound distor- tions, dislocations, and malinvestments as it wends its way through the real economy. In this case underpriced debt fostered a giant, uneconomic LBO and also massive overinvestment in natural gas fracking. When the collision of the two finally brings about the thundering collapse of the largest LBO in history, there should be no doubt that it was fostered by the foolish money printers in the Eccles Building and the LBO funds who took the bait.


"The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so."

Guess who, June 2008.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished March

DJIA: +197 Down. NASDAQ: +357 Up. SP500: +254 Down.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

There Goes the Pound.

Baltic Dry Index. 961 -06

LIR Gold Target in 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

"If you don't trust gold, do you trust the logic of taking a beautiful pine tree, worth about $4,000 - $5,000, cutting it up, turning it into pulp and then paper, putting some ink on it and then calling it one billion dollars?"

Kenneth J. Gerbino

Nothing good is coming our way. We haven’t even fired a shot yet and there goes the UK Pound, among the first casualties of our new undeclared war on Russia. Well if not the Pound, exactly, Great Britain’s £50 note. Even that is not exactly true. It’s only the older red ones that are going, and in a superfast panicky way too, from this Wednesday. Officially it’s a BOE crackdown on fraud. The real reason may be that Russia has a great hoard of made in St Petersburg Red falsies, that it’s getting ready to circulate them at the drop of a hat. Another reason may be to stop British serfs from hoarding them, against the arrival of the Great Inflation, if we get into an actual war with someone bigger than Britain.

My money’s on the official explanation, as we all know that the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street and Perfidious Albion never lie.  Pounds Sterling anyone? Anyone still remember the scrupulously honest “Yo Blair?” With the price of steel covered coloured metal so expensive, the BOE’s switching to pretty coloured plastic “money” for the UK’s defenceless serfs.

----“among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages."

Samuel Johnson. 1758.

Bank of England to withdraw the Houblon £50 note in fraud crackdown

Monday 28 April 2014
The £50 note which features a portrait of Sir John Houblon is to be withdrawn from circulation on Wednesday.

The Bank of England estimates that there are still 53 million of the notes in circulation, amounting to a value of £2.65bn.

Members of the public or business people who use the Houblon £50 notes are being urged to exchange them or deposit them at banks.

Barclays, NatWest, RBS, Ulster Bank and the Post Office have all agreed to exchange Houblon £50 notes for members of the public up to the value of £200 until 30 October 2014.

From May onwards, shops are unlikely to accept the older notes as payment. But the £50 banknote featuring Matthew Boulton and James Watt, introduced in 2011, will still be legal.

Victoria Cleland, head of the notes division at the Bank of England, says the 2011 notes have the better security features that the Houblon versions.

“We’d expect a lot to be out there,” she said. "There was an increase in demand for fifties during the financial crisis”.

The withdrawal of the note forms part of the Bank’s crackdown on fraud. The Boulton and Watt notes were the first to feature a green ‘motion thread’, with five windows featuring the pound symbol and the number 50, which moves when titled from side to side.

A new £10 note bearing a portrait of Jane Austen, to be introduced in 2017, will also use the latest security features.

Sir John Houlbon was the first governor of the Bank of England. The banknote bearing his portrait was first issued in 1994 as part of the Bank’s 300 anniversary celebrations.
Below, a reality check on Uncle Scam’s botched coup in Kiev and the consequences, as we race merrily along to recession, a giant inflation, and ultimately war. After a long preamble on US duplicity on Syria, Mr. Parry gets to the real web of lies on the Ukraine about halfway down.

“Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Lyndon Baines Kerry: Another American Idealist Gone To The Warfare State’s Dark Side

by Robert Parry • 

----It is perhaps not a coincidence that the principal world figure who steered President Obama away from Kerry’s hotly desired war last September was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arranged for Syria’s Assad to agree to surrender his entire chemical weapons arsenal even as Assad continued to deny any role in the Aug. 21 attack which he blamed on the rebels as a ploy to pull the U.S. military into the conflict.

By late September, leading American neocons were angry, too, frustrated that their hope for “regime change” in Syria had been blocked by Putin, who was also helping Obama hammer out a negotiated settlement to the Iranian nuclear dispute (and thus negate neocon hopes for another bombing campaign). The neocons began taking aim at this new adversary by targeting Ukraine, an important country on Russia’s border.

Carl Gershman, a leading neocon and longtime president of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, took to the op-ed page of the neocon-flagship Washington Post to urge the U.S. government to push European “free trade” agreements on Ukraine and other former Soviet states and thus counter Moscow’s efforts to maintain close relations with those countries.

The ultimate goal, according to Gershman, was isolating and possibly toppling Putin in Russia with Ukraine the key piece on this global chessboard. “Ukraine is the biggest prize,” Gershman wrote. “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

In furtherance of these goals, NED funded a staggering 65 projects in Ukraine, training activists, financing “journalists” and organizing business groups, according to NED’s annual report.

The Ukraine Context

In other words, the events that played out in Ukraine in fall 2013 and winter 2014 had a context. American neocons were furious at Putin for undercutting their plans for more “regime change” in the Middle East, and Kerry had ended up looking like a belligerent fool on Syria as he made the case for war but then saw Putin intervene.

Although Ukrainian citizens had legitimate beefs against their government and their elected President Viktor Yanukovych, the U.S. government – or at least Kerry’s State Department and Kerry’s neocon friends – kept up their own pressure for “regime change.”  Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a neocon from the ranks of Foreign Service officers, worked hand-in-glove with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt to encourage the anti-government protests in Kiev’s Maidan.

Nuland, the wife of neocon star Robert Kagan (a founder of the Project for the New American Century), literally passed out cookies to demonstrators and reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the U.S. government had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations.” In an intercepted phone call, she discussed with Pyatt her desire to see Arseniy Yatsenyuk installed as the new leader once Yanukovych was removed.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, Kerry’s old chum who had shepherded Kerry’s nomination to head the State Department, also showed up at the Maidan sharing a podium with the right-wing Svoboda party under its banners honoring Stepan Bandera, a Nazi collaborator from World War II whose paramilitary force helped exterminate Jews and Poles in an effort to achieve Ukrainian ethnic purity.

The reality of the Maidan was that most of the protesters appeared to be citizens rallying against government corruption and hoping for a more European future. Kiev, after all, is in Ukraine’s west where pro-European sentiment is strongest. But an important element of the Maidan uprising was the role played by the neo-Nazi militias, who were well-organized in 100-man units and who had secured weapons from looting a government arsenal.

These neo-Nazis moved to the forefront of the protests as things turned violent and after a still-mysterious sniper shooting that killed both demonstrators and police. U.S. officials and media blamed Yanukovych but he denied issuing such an order and some suspicion has fallen on a  possible neo-Nazi sniper team seeking to enflame violence.

In an effort to tamp down that violence, Yanukovych signed an agreement on Feb. 21 brokered by three European governments in which he agreed to limit his powers, accept early elections to vote him out of office, and pull back police. It was that last move, however, that opened the way for the neo-Nazi militias to seize government buildings on Feb. 22 and force Yanukovych and many of his officials to flee for their lives.

Immediately, the U.S. State Department hailed the “pro-democracy” coup and recognized the coup regime as the legitimate new leaders of Ukraine. However, the neo-Nazi storm troopers were an inconvenient reality.

A senior international diplomat who has been on scene in Ukraine told me that Western countries moved quickly to organize a new government under U.S. favorite Yatsenyuk because otherwise these unsavory far-right thugs would have been in total control. The neo-Nazis did get four ministries, including national security, and many of the neo-Nazi militias were then “legitimized” by being incorporated into the National Guard.

East Ukrainian Uprising

The installation of the coup regime in Kiev prompted resistance from Crimea and eastern Ukraine where Yanukovych had his electoral base. The Crimean parliament hastily arranged a referendum on secession and the official results showed 96 percent of the voters favoring rejoining Russia, an annexation which rapidly followed.

Pro-Russian demonstrators also rose up in eastern Ukraine seeking either a federalized state granting their regions substantial autonomy or a referendum on breaking away from western Ukraine and joining Russia.

However, Kerry, along with virtually the entire U.S. news media and officialdom, has presented the Ukrainian narrative as simply a case of Russia plotting to seize territory and acting as outside agitators to stir up the otherwise happy Ukrainian population. Yet, as with the Syrian sarin case, there has been a problem with actual evidence.


Eastern Ukraine slips further into chaos as violence flares and mayor shot

Pro-Russian militants attack Donetsk rally and seize buildings as mayor of Kharkiv suffers assassination attempt in broad daylight

in Donetsk and Harriet Salem in Slavyansk  9:08PM BST 28 Apr 2014
The mayor of Ukraine's second largest city was fighting for his life on Monday after an assassination attempt in broad daylight and an eruption of street violence in Donetsk dragged the east of the country further into chaos.

Gennady Kernes, who has been mayor of the eastern city of Kharkiv since 2010, was out jogging when he was shot in the back at about midday local time.

The attempted murder came as pro-Russian militia seized police buildings in yet another town in the Donetsk region, consolidating their hold on a strategic highway around the town of Slavyansk.

Later in the evening pro-Russian protesters armed with bats attacked a pro-Ukrainian march in Donetsk, leaving at least five people hospitalised with head wounds.


Up next, Europe’s pitchfork bearing serfs are at the gates of Brussels, and threatening to do in Europe’s elites. The Bilderbergers are fast on the run. The wealth destroying, one size fits all fiat euro, wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. Worse the Bilderbergers are trying to cut a deal with the Americans, whose dollar reserve currency advantage, will make any deal completely lopsided, rather like the USA-UK extradition treaty that only seems to be a one way street.  

How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?

Charles de Gaulle.

The enemy invasion: Brussels braced for influx of Eurosceptics in EU polls

Special report Parties demanding everything from reform to withdrawal are riding high on wave on discontent
 Jon Henley in Coulommiers, Erfurt and Helsinki    The Guardian, Monday 28 April 2014 15.10 BST
The Foire aux Fromages et aux Vins in Coulommiers, an attractive town on the undulating Brie plateau an hour east of Paris, is a fabulously French affair: a monumental marquee, hordes of happy visitors and more than 350 stalls laden with Gallic bounty.

Among the cheeses are tomme from Savoie, crottins de chèvre from Aveyron, and great roundels of brie from nearby Meaux, alongside case upon case of chablis, Pouilly-Fumé, Nuits-Saint-Georges. And today, in amiable conversation with a local cheesemaker, there is Aymeric Chauprade, academic, author, consultant, and leading candidate in the European elections for Marine Le Pen's freshly fumigated Front National.

Here's the problem, explains an immaculately suited Chauprade, who besides degrees in maths and international law has a doctorate in political science from the Sorbonne: all this – he gestures around him as the throng prods, nibbles, squeezes, swills and swallows – is at risk. These artisan French foods, proud produce of our terroirs and all protected by Appellation d'Origine status, will soon be at the mercy of multinationals, under the new transatlantic trade and investment partnership the European Union is negotiating with the US.

"American farmers and 'big food' will rule; our regulations and standards will count for nothing," Chauprade continues. "This is an EU that has no respect for national specificities; it's an EU of bureaucrats, of ever greater normalisation, in the service of big banks and corporations. It is not the EU we want."

Understandably, this message plays well here. But not only here.

Across the EU, insurgent parties from right and left are poised to cause major upset, finishing at or near the top of their respective national votes. As a result, rejectionist parties look set to send their largest contingent of anti-European MEPs ever to the European parliament: perhaps 25% of the assembly's 751 members. (Down from 766 in the current parliament.)

Does this matter? Dominated by the mainstream centre-right European People's party and centre-left Socialists & Democrats, which between them almost always muster a "grand coalition" of nearly 500 loyally pro-European MEPs, and with much of its work consisting of complicated compromises cosily worked out with envoys from the EU's other decision-making bodies, the European parliament does not function much like other parliaments.

Nor, although it now has a greater say over many more areas of EU law than before, are many European voters yet convinced of its relevance: while it supposedly represents some 500 million people, voter turnout among the 28 member states has fallen steadily since the first ever elections in 1979, when 62% of the electorate turned out, to just 43% at the latest vote in 2009.

But the near-certain election in a few weeks of a very substantial minority of MEPs actively working to derail, or at the very least disrupt, the parliament's work passing EU laws could come to be seen as something of a defining moment in the European project.

"I think," says Juri Mykkänen, a political scientist at Helsinki University, "that there is a lot of potential for these elections to become some kind of turning point for Europe, in large part because of the populist parties.

I think the established pro-European parties are going to have to start listening. This has to be seen as a signal that for a lot of people in Europe, the European Union has gone far enough in this direction."

Below, get ready for the big Bilderberger stitch up 2014. Ever wonder why that great wealth gap keeps on growing, and just like the USA-UK extradition treaty, is also a one way street.

Bilderberg 2014: Watch Out for the Red Herring in Copenhagen

April 8, 2014 By 21wire
The official Bilderberg website claims that the 62nd Bilderberg Meeting will take place in or around the capital city of Copenhagen in Denmark, on the last week of May 2014.

A shortlist of possible venues in and around Copenhagen reveals a few contenders. Some online sources have put forth the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen, which appears to be block booked between Wednesday, May 28th through to Sunday, June 1st. But as we will show you, Bilderberg may be held in two venues this year, as it was last year…

A Bilderberg Red Herring in 2014?

It’s important to note that this year is the first time the location of their annual meeting has been announced by Bilderberg in advance, and any ‘official’ venue announcement could also be a diversion from its real location in or out of Copenhagen - or even outside of Denmark itself. Despite their announcement of this year’s event being in Denmark, both Belgium or the Netherlands still seem like more likely locations considering proximity to this year’s G7 in Brussels.

‘Bait and Switch’

Last year, many hundreds of Bilderberg enthusiasts gathered at Watford’s Grove Hotel last summer, and even staged a ‘Bilderberg Festival’ on the adjacent grounds, but unknown to the alternative media crowds in attendance, the Grove Hotel was only an ‘R & R’, or ‘rest and recovery’ venue for conference attendees Thursday to Sunday, with social events, golfing and at least one interesting corporate presentations for delegates. Meanwhile, the real Bilderberg Conference actually took place on the other side of London, with steering committee meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the luxury Selsdon Park Hotel resort (photo, Below) located in Croydon, South London – a venue with its own heliport and only minutes away from Gatwick International Airport.

Finally, is Bonnie Scotland about to commit death by a thousand cuts?

How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of whisky?

Graeme, with apologies to Charles de Gaulle.

Scotland is voting for fiscal austerity, it just doesn't know it

An independent Scotland would lose free university education, medical prescriptions, the triple lock on pensions and high levels of social care for the elderly

What will Scotland look like after 10 years of independence? If Alex Salmond’s vision is fulfilled, Scotland will have become a prosperous, high-income, high public expenditure, social democracy on the Nordic model, fully at ease with its position in the European Union, and possibly even a signed up member of the euro.

An equally plausible scenario, however, is that it will by then have been forced into a vicious fiscal consolidation that will have cut many public services and entitlements to the bone. Gone will be free university education and medical prescriptions. Gone too will be the triple lock on pensions and high levels of social care for the elderly. The First Minister’s promise of both lower taxes and higher spending will have been exposed as a cynical deception.

Capital flight will in turn have prompted deep tax cuts in order to compete with the rest of the UK in attracting investment and talent, which in turn would require further cuts in public spending. Scotland might, in other words, look much more like Greece than Norway.

---- When throwing yourself over a cliff, it is customary to wear a parachute, or some such other method of ensuring flight and a soft landing. There is no such insurance in this case. Scots are voting blind; they don’t know what currency they will have, what their fiscal position will be, whether they will be able to borrow in international markets, where their banks will be based, whether their deposits are safe, or even whether they will be members of the European Union.

We live in dangerous times that are about to get worse. Stay long the only insurance that works when the sky falls in.

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

Adolf Hitler.

At the Comex silver depositories Monday final figures were: Registered 53.23 Moz, Eligible 121.92 Moz, Total 175.15 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today, a strange warning against using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer from America’s often batty Department of Homeland Security. And Russia isn’t even retaliating yet.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.”

The NSA, with apologies to Sir Walter Scott.

Don't use Internet Explorer, warns US government

In a blow to Microsoft, the US government is advising computer users to seek alternatives to the Internet Explorer web browser until the software is patched

The US Department of Homeland Security is advising citizens to use alternatives to Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser until the company fixes a security flaw that hackers have used to launch attacks.

The United States Computer Emergence Readiness Team (US-CERT) said in an advisory that the vulnerability in versions 6 to 11 of Internet Explorer "could lead to the complete compromise of an affected system".

Microsoft warned customers over the weekend that a vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser could allow hackers to gain access to their computers.

The flaw affects Internet Explorer versions 6 to 11, representing more than a half of the global desktop browser market, according to NetMarket Share. Microsoft said that it was aware of "limited, targeted attacks" that exploit the flaw.

"An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights," the company said in a security advisory.

Microsoft said it is taking appropriate action to protect its customers, which may include issuing a security patch, either through its monthly security update release process or as a one-off update.

However, people still using Windows XP will not benefit from a security patch, as Microsoft stopped supporting the 13-year-old operating system earlier this month.

Cyber security firm Symantec said it had carried out tests that confirmed the vulnerability crashes Internet Explorer on Windows XP. "This will be the first zero day vulnerability that will not be patched for Windows XP users," it said.

Recent research from software company AppSense suggests that as much as 77 per cent of British businesses are running Windows XP in some capacity beyond the end of support deadline – including around half of the UK’s councils and large swathes of the NHS.

"Such organisations could be impacted by further exploits to this vulnerability as malware creators take further advantage of this security hole which will remain open," said Simon Townsend, chief technologist of Europe at AppSense.

"By using an unsupported platform, organisations are taking a very real risk in terms of data security, as highlighted by this exploit, and need to either move off XP or strictly control user rights and application usage."

For users of later versions of Microsoft Windows, Symantec encourages users to temporarily switch to a different web browser until a patch is made available.

Officials Say Russian Hackers May Retaliate for Sanctions

By Chris Strohm and Kasia Klimasinska Apr 27, 2014 5:00 AM GMT
U.S. officials and security specialists are warning that Russian hackers may respond to new sanctions by attacking the computer networks of U.S. banks and other companies.

U.S. officials involved in a White House review of the effects of further penalties on Russia didn’t respond to questions about whether the study explores the risk of cyber-counterattacks. Even so, two people with knowledge of the review said it includes revisiting previous classified exercises in which small numbers of computer experts showed they were able to cripple the U.S. economy in a few days.

Cybersecurity specialists consider Russian hackers among the world’s best at infiltrating networks and say evidence exists that they already have inserted malicious software on computers in the U.S.

The Financial Services Roundtable, an industry group that includes Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp., is watching for any signs of hacking attacks, although nothing appears imminent, Paul Smocer, head of the technology policy division of the Washington-based trade group, said in a telephone interview.

“A cyber-attack is a real concern that we all need to have,” Smocer said. “Nation states’ ability to launch cyber-attacks is certainly real nowadays, and so in any conflict, I think that the possibility exists as we worry about escalation.”

----If Russia decides to retaliate for new sanctions on its banks and Putin associates, it could be difficult to trace any cyber-attacks to his government because hackers can easily mask their identities and locations online.

It took experts months to trace an eight-month series of distributed-denial-of-service, or DDOS, attacks on the largest U.S. banks in 2012 and 2013 to Iranian hackers calling themselves the Al Qassam Cyber Fighters and retaliating for U.S. and international sanctions on that country. Such attacks flood websites with Internet traffic to knock them offline.

----The attacks against Estonia used 100 megabytes per second, which is small compared to the capabilities that now exist, said Jaime Blasco, a malware researcher and labs director for AlienVault LLC, a network-security company based in San Mateo, California.

An DDOS attack in December on unnamed companies in the U.S. and France used 400 gigabytes per second, Blasco said in a telephone interview. That’s 4,000 times larger than the Estonia attacks.

“Russia could launch denial-of-service attacks against critical infrastructure in the United States,” he said. “It could be much bigger than we have ever seen.”

Large DDOS attacks have spiked so far in 2014, according to new data compiled by network-security company Arbor Networks Inc. in Burlington, Massachusetts.

The company has tracked a 1.5 percent increase in attacks using at least 20 gigabytes per second in 2014 compared with all of 2013, the largest being a 325 gigabyte-per-second attack against a target in France in February that lasted four hours and 22 minutes, according to the company.

A network of computers called Dirt Jumper that’s been used in denial-of-service attacks is believed to have been created in Russia, Dan Holden, director of security research for Arbor Networks, said in a telephone interview.

“We're all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”

Rudyard Kipling.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished March

DJIA: +197 Down. NASDAQ: +357 Up. SP500: +254 Down.