Thursday, May 21, 2015

The "Not So Innocent" Catholic Church - Hitler Makes a Deal With the Pope

May 21, 2015

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

For Many American States, It's Like the Recession Never Ended

Bloomberg Business
May 21, 2015
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has warned of impending cuts, including the closing of 15 of 22 state parks. Photographer: Brynn Anderson/AP Photo

Six years after the recession ended, many U.S. states are hard pressed to balance budgets because of a sluggish recovery and their own policy decisions. The fiscal fragility raises questions about how they will weather the next economic downturn.
A majority of states are making cuts, tapping reserves or facing shortfalls despite an improving national economy and stock markets at record levels, according to Standard & Poors and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. State revenue hasn’t rebounded to a prerecession peak adjusted for inflation, and other factors are putting pressure on budgets.
Alaska, Oklahoma and energy-producing states saw receipts fall with global oil prices. Kansas overestimated revenue after tax cuts, while New Jersey faces a shortfall thanks to unfunded pensions. Even some Republican governors have championed tax increases to avoid further diminishing services curtailed during the 18-month recession, the deepest downturn since the Great Depression.
“The extent of the weakness is really impressive,” said Donald Boyd, who tracks state finances at the Rockefeller Institute in Albany, New York. “There’s a lot of pressure on governors and legislators.”
Thirty-two states faced budget gaps in fiscal 2015 or 2016 or both, according to an April 27report by Standard & Poors. The fiscal year ends June 30 in all but four states.

Russia Violating U.S.-Russia Nuclear Agreement

Bloomberg View
May 21, 2015

The Obama administration is considering a range of options to respond to Russia’s ongoing violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. Part of the response could involve deploying new U.S. weapons to Eastern Europe.
Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, the outgoing vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an audience Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that Russia continues to violate the 1987 agreement, which banned both the U.S. and Russia from developing or deploying nuclear weapons with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The treaty was the first nuclear arms agreement to reduce the number of nuclear weapons.
The administration is currently debating both defensive and offensive responses, Winnefeld said, while top officials continue pushing the Russians to get back into compliance. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the issue with Russian leadership “very recently,” Winnefeld added.
“The first solution to this problem is for Russia to stop doing this. That’s the most important thing,” said Winnefeld. “That’s the way out of this problem. If it doesn’t look like that is going to happen, there are options.”
The State Department admitted publicly last July that the U.S. government believes Russia is violation of the treaty. Privately, top administration officials have known that Russia was in violation since at least 2012, because it has tested ground-based cruise missiles with the prohibited range. So far Russia has faced no punishment.
Two U.S. officials briefed on the options said that the Pentagon has submitted a list of potential countermeasures to the National Security Council, but the White House has yet to schedule a high-level NSC meeting to discuss and decide what to do. Some of the more aggressive options would include deploying more land-based military hardware to NATO allies for missile defense near the Russian border, to counter the new Russian cruise capability. Expanded targeted sanctions and added patrols near Russian space are less aggressive options on the table.
Consequences from the U.S. “would indicate to Russia that this is not going to do them any good … and would go a long way to reassuring our partners that we are very serious about wanting to keep Russia’s adherence to the treaty that we all signed so long ago,” Winnefeld said.
The State Department sent a delegation to Moscow last September to confront Russia on these treaty violations, led by Undersecretary of State for Nonproliferation Rose Gottemoeller. The delegation returned to Washington empty handed.
U.S. and Russian officials told me that the U.S. delegation refused to tell the Russians exactly what Russia had done to violate the treaty. U.S. officials said they didn’t want to risk disclosing intelligence that could compromise sources and methods, and besides, the Russians already knew exactly how they were violating the treaty.
But the Russian side used the American officials' circumspection to rebuff the accusations. In a blustery speech in February at the Munich Security Conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the American allegations "avoid specific facts.” He went on to accuse the U.S. of violating the treaty, both by deploying ballistic missile defense elements in Europe and by using drones. (This is an odd accusation; the treaty is silent on drones.)
The State Department categorically denies that the U.S. is violating the treaty in any way.
Russian officials told me their side wants to negotiate over the violations in a way that addresses both Russia's cruise missile programs and the U.S. missile defenses. That’s unlikely because the Obama administration has no real space to negotiate over U.S. missile defense. It already conceded to Russian demands by cancelling sites in Eastern Europe and a phase of the European missile defense program in 2009.
And that was when U.S.-Russian relations were relatively positive. Now, since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, which included thinly veiled threats by President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons, there’s no appetite in either Europe or Washington for further missile concessions to Moscow. And in Congress, pressure is mounting on the administration to do something about Russia’s nuclear weapons violations.
The House’s version of next year’s defense policy bill has some strong language regarding the violations. The bill would require the administration to tell Congress whether Russia is taking any steps to come into compliance. If not, the bill directs the president to develop military capabilities to counter the new Russian missiles.
“They need to do something about it,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee member James Risch told me. "Why have a treaty if you don’t do something about it?"
Risch said that treaties with Russia, including the New START treaty he opposed in 2010, are more trouble than they are worth because the administration never had any plan about what to do if Russia was in violation. If Russia doesn’t get back into compliance, he said the U.S. should consider withdrawing from the treaty altogether.
“Certainly, they need to have some strong understandings about whether or not everybody is going to abide by the treaty. If not, we are going to have to go in another direction,” Risch said.
Scuttling the 1987 treaty altogether by unilaterally withdrawing seems like a drastic option. That would also scuttle the verification and inspection regimes that go along with the agreement, which provide the U.S. valuable insight and reassurance about Russian nuclear activities.
On the other hand, treaties with Russia are not as beneficial as they used to be. The Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty is all but defunct. Russia blatantly discarded the Budapest Memorandum when it invaded Ukraine. In the larger view, Russia is a declining power. The U.S. may need to resume development of its own medium-range nuclear arsenal to confront this century’s biggest challenge, a rising and increasingly militaristic China.
To contact the author on this story:
Josh Rogin at
To contact the editor on this story:
Philip Gray at

Monday, May 18, 2015

Abolishing Cash – The New Age Of Economic Totalitarianism

Zero Hedge
May 18, 2015

Europe is moving full speed ahead to eliminate all cash.
Euro Bank Notes

Instead of reforming and tackling the economic problems, government always seeks to maintain the same course of thinking that now leads us to the totalitarian approach coming from Brussels.
To maintain the euro, they must maintain the banks. However, the bank reserves are debts of all member states. As government becomes insolvent as in Greece, the banking system is undermined. The only way to prevent the banking collapse is to prevent people from withdrawing cash.
Hence, we see this trend is surfacing in all the mainstream press to get the people ready for what is coming after 2015.75 – the elimination of cash. We are even starting to see this advocated in parts of GermanyWe will not be able to buy or sell anything without government approval. That is where we are going, and it may be the major event that erupts after 2015.75.
The bail-in that took place in Cyprus managed to get away without bloodshed. The people just took it.
This has encouraged governments everywhere, since now they know they can safely do the same thing and the people are like sheep – dumb and stupid.
Sheep Herd

Just how much will society take before they say no?

Climate Hoax Aimed at New World Order, Says Aussie PM Advisor

The New American
May 19, 2015

Climate Hoax Aimed at New World Order, Says Aussie PM Advisor
The United Nations climate czar and various alarmist media outlets this week sought to dismiss as a “joke” recent comments by a top advisor to Australian leader Tony Abbott on frauduelent man-made global warming theories being used to advance global tyranny. In an explosive column, Maurice Newman, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, argued that theories on alleged human-caused climate change were not only bogus, but are serving as the basis for imposing a totalitarian “new world order” on humanity. Despite the uproar among global-warming theorists, UN bureaucrats, and the alarmist press, the evidence suggests Newman is correct.    
In the column, published May 8 by The Australian newspaper, Newman begins by blowing the lid off a “well-kept secret” — the climate models purporting to prove that man’s practically irrelevant emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible for catastrophic global warming have been proven wrong. But that is not surprising, he wrote. “We have been subjected to extravagance from climate catastrophists for close to 50 years,” he explained, citing an array of examples of climate fear-mongers and media outlets warning of global cooling and other problems just a few decades ago. The more recent pronouncements of the alarmists are equally ludicrous.

Bank of America: Markets Are in a 'Twilight Zone' and It's Time to Hold More Cash and Gold

May 19, 2015

In a note sent out this morning, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a warning for investors: 
Investors remain trapped in “The Twilight Zone”, the transition period between the end of QE and the first rate hike by the Fed, the start of policy normalization...until (a) the US economy is unambiguously robust enough to allow the Fed to hike and (b) the Fed’s exit from zero rates is seen not to cause either a market or macro shock (as it infamously did in 1936-7), the investment backdrop will likely continue to be cursed by mediocre returns, volatile trading rotation, correlation breakdowns and flash crashes. For this reason we continue to advocate higher than normal levels of cash, adding gold and owning volatility in mid 2015. Given extremities of liquidity, profits, technological disruption, regulation, income inequality…potential for a cleansing drop in asset prices cannot be dismissed. Most likely catalysts: Consumer, Rates, A-shares, Speculation, High Yield.
The note also highlights two interesting disconnects in the markets:
  1. Investors say they are optimistic, but there is a high level of cash on the sidelines
  2. U.S. stock prices are at record highs, but equity funds are seeing outflows
Regarding the first point, one of Bank of America's surveys showed investor sentiment as being “risk-on," which it says is normally associated with less cash on the sidelines.
To the second point, the note says U.S. equity funds have suffered $100 billion of outflows in 2015 while the S&P 500 is near all-time highs, which its data says isn't exactly typical. 
The analysts led by Michael Hartnett attribute this to clients favoring European and Japanese equities at the expense of the U.S and that buying from those not captured in flow data (sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and central banks) could be what's giving U.S. equity indices a boost. 
The note hints that that you actually ought to sell in May and go away, at least for certain asset classes. 

The summer months offer a lose-lose proposition for risk assets: either the macro improves and the Fed gets to hike, which will at least temporarily cause volatility; or more ominously for consensus positioning, the macro does not recover, in which case EPS downgrades drag risk-assets lower. 

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