Olduvaiblog: Musings on the coming collapse

Home » 2014 » February » 20

Daily Archives: February 20, 2014

“House Of Cards”‘ Top 3 Lessons For A Naive Voting Public | Zero Hedge

“House Of Cards”‘ Top 3 Lessons For A Naive Voting Public | Zero Hedge.

Unlike so many television shows, House of Cards shows how politicians use their power to help themselves and their friends – not the people who elected them. The fictional character at the center of the series, Frank Underwood, shows us the pitfalls of bureaucratic democracy. As professor Steve Horwitz explains in this brief clip, the series exposes the truth of public choice theory, rent seeking behavior, psychopathic tendencies, Machiavellian inclinations, corruption, and scandal. House of Cards is not that far from reality theses days and the following 3 lessons should be heeded by every voter.

 

Meanwhile, In Saudi Arabia… | Zero Hedge

Meanwhile, In Saudi Arabia… | Zero Hedge.

When the Arab Spring sprung a few years ago, the world’s eyes only really cared about one nation. If Saudi Arabia’s elite could not keep paying off their poor, an uprising in the world’s largest oil supplier could have significant (and catastrophic) consequences for the rest of the world. Of course, between being paid to lose weight (in gold) and raising unemployment insurance, the government has kept trouble at bay. However, things are shifting. As DPA repots, two police were killed after coming under heavy gunfire while trying to arrest several Shiite activists. Of course, this is a one off but notable in its occurrence for the first time since 2011. Saudi Arabia blames Iran of inciting its Shiite citizens to disturb security and stability.

Via DPA,

Two policemen and two fugitives were killed Thursday in Saudi Arabia when security forces tried to arrest the wanted men, the Interior Ministry said.

 

The incident occurred in Awwamiyyeh, in Qatif governorate, a stronghold of the country’s Shiite opposition.

 

Police came under heavy fire while carrying out the arrest operation and were forced to shoot back, ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki said.

 

A wave of protest swept the Shiite-dominated Qatif area, in eastern Saudi Arabia, in 2011. Since then there have been a number of shooting incidents, while authorities have pursued wanted Shiite activists.

 

The Shiites accuse authorities in the kingdom, which is dominated by the hardline Sunni Wahhabi tendency, of discrimination. Saudi Arabia denies this, describing the protesters as “rioters” financed by foreign countries to cause unrest in the world’s top oil exporter.

Saudi Arabia blames Iran of inciting its Shiite citizens to disturb security and stability.

In January, the US embassy in Riyadh warned its citizens against travelling to the district after gunmen attacked the car of two German diplomats.

 

Security forces who tried to arrest those suspected of being behind “armed unrest” were shot at and retaliated, a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.

 

They seized “two weapons, a large quantity of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and weapons sights,” he added, warning the  authorities would crush any such resistance with “an iron fist”.

Awamiya has continued to experience problems despite the end of mass protests that erupted in the eastern region in March 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring.

 

Ron Paul: “Ukraine Is Their Business, Not Ours” | Zero Hedge

Ron Paul: “Ukraine Is Their Business, Not Ours” | Zero Hedge.

“The American people are very leery of getting involved in another squabble in some other country,” warns Ron Paul following the breakdown in the truce in Ukraine and President Obama’s drawing of more red-lines. In this succinct interview with FOX, the former congressman sums it up perfectly, “That’s their business, and it certainly isn’t ours,” he said. “We’ve tried it for too long, and the American people are sick and tired of it, and we’re also out of money.” Indeed, but the Keynesians must be getting excited…

 

“the further we stay away from there, the better…”

 

 

“I would be willing to wager most of the people in the Ukraine would like to see the United States stay out, and they’d like to see the Russians stay out.”

“The Pig In The Python Is About To Be Expelled”: A Walk Thru Of China’s Hard Landing, And The Upcoming Global Harder Reset | Zero Hedge

“The Pig In The Python Is About To Be Expelled”: A Walk Thru Of China’s Hard Landing, And The Upcoming Global Harder Reset | Zero Hedge.

By now everyone knows that the Chinese credit bubble has hit unprecedented proportions. If they don’t, we remind them with the following chart of total bank “assets” (read debt) added since the collapse of Lehman: China literally puts the US to shame, where in addition to everything, the only actual source of incremental credit growth over the same time period has been the Fed as banks have used reserves as margin for risk purchases instead of lending.

 

Everyone should also know that like a metastatic cancer, the amount of non-performing, bad loans within the Chinese financial system is growing at an exponential pace.

 

Finally, what everyone learned over the past month, is that as the two massive, and unresolvable forces, come to a head, the first cracks in the facade are starting to appear as first one then another shadow-banking Trust product failed and had to be bailed out in the last minute.

However, as we showed last week, and then again last night, the default party in China is only just beginning as Trust failures in the coming months are set to accelerate at a breakneck pace.

 

The $64K question is will the various forms of government be able to intercept and bail these out in time, as they have been doing so far despite their hollow promises of cracking down on moral hazard: after all, everyone certainly knows what happened when Lehman was allowed to meet its destiny without a bailout – to say that the CNY10 trillion Chinese shadow banking industry will not have far more dire consequences if allowed to fall without government support is simply idiotic.

But what could be the catalyst for this outcome which inevitably would unleash the long-overdue Chinese hard landing, and with it, a new global depression?

Ironically, the culprit may be none other than the Fed with the recently instituted taper, and the gradual, at first, then quite rapid unwind of the global carry trade.

Bank of America explains:

QE and the Emerging Markets carry trade

 

The QE channel has worked through Emerging Markets and China is a key vehicle. By lowering the US government bond yields to a bare minimum, and zero –ish at the short end, a search for yield globally ensued. Emerging market banks and corporates have gone on an international leverage binge, yet another carry trade, the third in 20 years. The first one was driven by European banks, financing East Asian capex – that ended in 1997. The second one was global banks and equity-FDI supporting mainly capex in the BRICs. That ended in 2008. This time, it is increasingly non-equity: commercial banks and more importantly, the bond market – often undercounted in the BoP and external debt statistics that conventional analysis looks at.

 

Chart 9 shows the rise of EM external loans and bond issuance (both by residence and nationality). Since, end-3Q2008 to end-3Q2013, external borrowing from banks and bonds has risen USD1.9tn. Bank loans have risen by USD855bn and bond issuance in foreign currencies by nationality is up USD1,042bn. In the prior five-year period (i.e. end-3Q2003 – end-3Q2008), forex bond issuance rose only USD432bn. Clearly, the importance of external bond issuance is rising. See Table 5 for details.

 

In China, since, end-3Q2008 to end-3Q2013, outstanding external borrowing from banks and bonds has gone from USD207bn to USD849n – a net rise of USD655bn. Outstanding bank loans are up from USD161bn to USD609bn – a net rise of USD464bn. Bond issuance in foreign currencies by nationality is up from USD46bn to USD240bn – a net rise of USD191bn. In the prior five-year period (ie, end-3Q2003 – end-3Q2008), forex bond issuance rose only USD28bn in China. Clearly, the importance of external bond issuance is rising in China.

 

 

There is more to this story.

 

As mentioned earlier, for externally-issued bonds, USD1,042bn has been raised by the nationality of the EM borrower since end-3Q 2008, but USD724bn by residence of the borrower – a gap of USD318bn, or 44%. This undercount is USD165bn in China, USD100bn in Brazil, USD62bn in Russia, and USD37bn in India. The carry trade this time around was helped substantially by access to the bond market, especially from overseas affiliates of EM banks and corporations.

 

There are a lot of moving parts in the balance of payments that finally affect the change in international reserves at any EM central bank – eg, the current account, portfolio equity investment and direct equity investment, and debt flows – both from the bond market and lending from banks. We focus on the link between these debt flows and the international reserves in China. As Table 5 below shows, China’s external debt – from bond issuance and forex borrowing from banks – rose USD655bn during 3Q08-3013.

 

 

We posit that this large rise was in part driven by the carry trade offered up by QE – China banks and corporates issued substantial forex-denominated bonds, and borrowed straight loans from international banks. We recognize the caveat that correlation does not imply causation. The USD655bn rise in China debt issuance is highly correlated to the Fed’s balance sheet since late-2008. As Chart 11 shows, the rise in China debt issuance of USD 655bn has (along with FDI and the C/A surplus), boosted international reserves by USD1,773bn since late-2008. Also, as Chart 11 shows, the USD1,773bn rise in China international reserves mirrors the rise of USD2,585bn in the EM monetary base. Lastly, the rise of China’s monetary base of USD2,585bn correlates well with the USD10.9tr rise in China’s broad money expansion.

 

 

 

As the Fed tapers, and the size of its balance sheet stabilizes/contracts, we should expect this sequence to reverse. Confidence is a fragile membrane. Not only does the Fed’s balance sheet matter as a source of funds, but we believe so does the attractiveness of the recipient of the carry trade – and the trust in its collateral. As Gary Gorton puts it…

 

The output of banks is money, in the form of short-term debt which is used to store value or used as a transaction medium. Such money is backed by a portfolio of bank loans in the case of demand deposits, or by collateral in the form of a specific bond in the case of repo. The backing is designed to make the bank debt as close to riskless as possible — in fact, so close to riskless than nobody wants to really do any due diligence on the money, just transact with it. But the private sector cannot produce riskless debt and so it can happen that the backing collateral is questioned. This typically happens at the peak of the business cycle. If its value is questioned, it loses its “moneyness” so no one wants it, and cash is preferred. But as we know, if everyone wants their cash at the same moment, their demands cannot be satisfied. In this sense, the financial system is insolvent. (interview with the FT) 

 

What makes sense for an individual carry trade – borrow low, invest at higher rates – falls prey to the fallacy of composition, when too many engage in the same carry trade. And eventually question the underlying collateral, now huge, and potentially suspect. China is a case in point. If our colleagues David Cui and Bin Gao are right, the trust sector in Chinacould create rollover risks that reverse a gluttonous carry trade within China, but partly financed overseas. In China’s case, this trade was between low global interest rates, low Chinese deposit rates, expectations of perpetual RMB appreciation on the one hand, and higher investment returns promised by Trusts on the other. A part of the debt funds raised overseas, we suspect were put to work in this Trust carry trade. The HK-based banks are big participants in intermediating the China carry trade – as Chart 12 shows, their net lending to China went from 18% of HK GDP in 2007 to 148% in late-2013.

 

There are always fancy names given to carry trades – financial liberalization of capital accounts, the Bangkok International Banking Facility, currency internationalization, etc. We remain skeptics of these buzzwords.

 

 

 

The potential consequences of Trust defaults and a China carry trade unwind

 

1. If the EM carry trade diminishes as a consequence of a changed Fed policy and/or less attractive risk-adjusted returns in EMs as collateral quality is questioned, the sources of China’s forex reserve accumulation will need to change. Perhaps to bigger current account surpluses, more equity FDI and portfolio investment through privatization and more open equity markets. If that does not happen, expanding the Chinese monetary base might require PBOC to increase net lending to the financial system and/or monetize fiscal deficits (this last part has not worked so well in EMs).

 

2. Potential asset deflation is a risk, as the carry trades diminish/unwind. Property prices are at risk – the collateral value for China’s financial systems. This is not a dire projection – it simply seeks to isolate the US QE as a key driver of China’s monetary policy and asset inflation, and highlights the magnitudes involved, and the transmission mechanism. Investors should not imbue stock-price movements and property price inflation in China with too much local flavor – this is mainly a US QE-driven story, in our view.

 

3. Currently, China’s real effective exchange rate is one of the strongest in the world. Concerns about China’s Trust sector, and its underlying collateral value, sees some of this carry trade unwound, the RMB could be under pressure.

 

 

4. Given HK’s role in the China carry trade, HK property prices and its banking system should be watched carefully for signs of stress.

 

5. UK, US, and Japan banking systems have been active lenders to China since QE. They should be on watch if the Trust rollover risk materializes and creates a growth shock in China. See Chart 15.

 

 

 

6. Safe haven bids for DM government bonds, overseas property and precious metals might emerge from China.

 

Could the party go on? Yes, if for some reason a significant deterioration in the US labor market, or a deflationary shock from China, or any other surprise that could lead to a cessation of the US tapering could prolong this carry trade. This is not the house base case. We believe it is better to start preparing for a post-QE world. As one of our smartest clients told us: “the main theme in the past five years was QE. If that is coming to an end, investments and themes that worked in the past five years must therefore be questioned.” We agree.

* * *

Yes, Bank of America said all of the above – every brutally honest last word of it.

The question, however, in addition to “why”, is whether the Fed also agrees with BofA’s stunningly frank, and quite disturbing conclusion, perhaps finally realizing that aside from the US, the biggest house of cards that would topple once the “flow”-free emperor is exposed in his nudity, is that of the world’s largest “growth” (and credit) dynamo of the past two decades – China.Because, as noted above, if Lehman’s collapse was bad, a deflationary collapse brought on by Chinese hard landing coupled with a full unwind of the global carry trade, would be disastrous and send the world into a depression the likes of which have never before been seen.

Finally, for those who want the blow by blow, here is BofA’s tentative take of what the preliminary steps of the next global great depression will look like:

If we do experience a sizable default, the knee-jerk market reaction will be cash hoarding since it will strike as a big surprise. Thus, we expect the repo rate to rise first, while the long term government bond would get bid due to risk aversion flows.

 

However, what follows will be quite uncertain, aside from PBoC injecting liquidity and easing monetary policy to help short term rate come down. It has been proven again and again the Chinese government will get involved and be proactive. The bond market reaction will be different depending on the government solution.

Alas, at that point, not even the world’s largest bazooka will be enough.

At this point one should conclude that reality – through massive, unprecedented liquidity injections – has been deferred long enough. It is time to let the markets finally return to some semblance ofuncentrally-planned normalcy: there is a reason why nature abhors a vacuum. Even if it means the eruption of the very painful grand reset, washing away decades of capital misallocation, lies and ill-gotten wealth, so very overdue.

US Navy SEALs On Power Grid Attack: ‘A Carbon Copy’ of How We Would Do It

US Navy SEALs On Power Grid Attack: ‘A Carbon Copy’ of How We Would Do It.

Mac Slavo
February 19th, 2014
SHTFplan.com

 

seals
(Image Courtesy NavySeals.com)

The threat of a breakdown of our national power infrastructure has been a growing concern for the last decade. With the invention of “Super EMP” electro-magnetic pulse weapons, the possibility of Carrington-class solar flares, and the potential for cyber attackers to remotely compromise our interconnected computer systems, there may come a time in our country’s future when our entire way of life is threatened because we no longer have access to the one thing that keeps it all moving – electricity. Outgoing Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano recently suggested that such a widespread outage is imminent and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke who is a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee concluded that the chance of a serious geo-magnetic event crippling our power grid is 100%.

The threat is real.

And as recently as last year Americans got a taste of what such an attack may look like. Though not reported at the time out of national security concerns, it was recently revealed that an entire domestic power grid sub-station came under attack in what seems to be a professionally executed assault. The attackers first cut phone lines from the sub-station and they then proceeded to fire 100 rounds from long-range at critical components such as the generators that keep the station cooling systems operational. This resulted in millions of dollars worth of damage and a reported electrical outage that spanned nearly a month.

According to officials this was a sophisticated attack likely involving the coordination of multiple individuals. And they’re not the only ones who think so.

sniper-grid-attack2
(Closed Circuit cameras capture  San Josa, CA power grid sniper attack)

US Navy Seals have said it is a carbon copy of how they would carry out such an operation.

According to Sky News the FBI doesn’t believe this was an act of terrorism – thoughstamping your own gold coins, questioning mainstream ideologies, or purchasing food in bulk do qualify as suspected terrorist operations:

The FBI says it does not believe the attack was terrorism. No one has been arrested.

There are differing opinions at government agencies about what happened. Head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jon Wellinghoff called it “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred.”

Investigators don’t know for sure who did it or why, but it’s clear that our power grid has not been secured, despite billions of dollars being spent on the security of the homeland over the last decade.

If a few individuals with an AK-47 are capable of bringing down a sub-station and 17 massive transformers that provide power to hundreds of thousands of people, consider what would happen if a rogue terrorist organization or foreign-sponsored military teams were to target 100 key power stations that provide the electricity for tens of millions of people.

Next time they might not be bringing an AK-47. They could target sub-station components with easily obtained explosive through U.S. black markets and take down scores of transformers that switch electricity across the grid. Should those transformers be destroyed (and not just damaged as they were in this recent attack), then it could take months or years to restore conditions to 100%.

Most transformer components are manufactured overseas and production time in opportune conditions is about 18 months. If hundreds of these transformers were all of a sudden destroyed there is simply no way to bring everything back online in any reasonable amount of time.

As the threat of a power grid outage becomes ever more real, we strongly urge readers to develop a personal preparedness plan that includes long-term food supplies, water, and self defense strategies.

Preparing one second after such an event will be too late.

Hattip Underground Medic

The Impending Dangers of Nuclear War: America’s W88 Thermonuclear Warhead is 30 Times a Hiroshima Bomb | Global Research

The Impending Dangers of Nuclear War: America’s W88 Thermonuclear Warhead is 30 Times a Hiroshima Bomb | Global Research.

Global Research, February 20, 2014
nuke

The US, the UK, Russia, China and France are rebuilding or upgrading their arsenals of nuclear weapons. The other four nuclear states(Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea) too are ‘improving’ their arsenals. As we discuss the statistics and strategies of ‘nuclear arsenals’ and ‘nuclear deterrence’ it can be hard to keep in mind the reality underlying the abstract discussions.

The nine nuclear states have over 10,000 nuclear weapons in their stockpiles1. This is enough to wipe out the entire population of the planet many times over together with all other life forms.

Is this sane? Has the human race lost its senses? A single United States thermonuclear warhead, designated W88, has an estimated ‘yield’ of 475 kilotons2.  The ‘yield’ is the destructive power expressed in tons of TNT equivalent.

The W88 is over 30 times more destructive than the bomb which wiped out Hiroshima.

A single W88 could completely destroy London, Moscow or New York. Each bomb on a major city would kill millions of people; women, children, babies, old people, everyone. The suffering would be indescribable and for many would go on for months and years before death. No emergency services could begin to cope There would be no relief. What sort of people would do such a thing? What kind of human would threaten such an atrocity?

File:W-88 warhead detail.png

 

The US government has 5 nuclear submarines on patrol at all times carrying 1000 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb3. Is it possible to imagine the degree of paranoia represented by such a standing threat? The UK government has started to spend one hundred billion pounds on rebuilding its Trident fleet of nuclear submarines, each one with the capacity to incinerate over 40 million people. This is being done at a time when many citizens are suffering from inadequate defences against flooding and when the social services are being radically cut back.

The situation is being rendered even more dangerous by the US and Russia who keep 1,800 weapons on high alert atop long-range ballistic missiles that are ready to launch 5 to 15 minutes after receiving an order!

It is ironic that the worst offenders are the five permanent members of the ‘Security’ Council of the United Nations. They have had 69 years to get rid of their nuclear weapons while all that the citizens of the world hear from them are windy speeches around purported good intentions which never come to fruition.

Citizens of the world have simultaneously become aware that the nuclear states do not intend to get rid of their nuclear weapons and that their existence imposes a permanent and intolerable threat to us all. The existence of nuclear weapons means they could be used by accident, by misunderstanding or by malicious intent. How can we ever be sure that some deranged psychopath will not gain power in one of the nuclear states and deceive him/herself into believing that it is in their best interests to make a first strike? How can we ever be sure that some terrorist organisations will not hack into the electronic control systems and carry out the launching themselves? And we now know that even a small nuclear exchange could be a lethal threat to everyone on the planet. In a limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan 20 million people would die from the nuclear blasts, fires, and radioactive fallout. And the fallout would have global consequences that would kill millions of people, disrupt climate patterns, and threaten global agricultural collapse4.

 Furthermore decent people round the globe know that the existence of nuclear weapons is a brooding evil which undermines the moral integrity of humankind. As the great moral leader Desmond Tutu wrote “Nuclear weapons are an obscenity. They are the very antithesis of humanity5…’

The only remedy is an enforced world ban on the existence of nuclear weapons. The other weapons of mass destruction have already been banned. It is the turn of the last and most destructive of them all.

And finally there is hope. The huge burgeoning of awareness in the citizens of the world is bearing fruit.

There are 9 nuclear states and there are 183 non-nuclear states. The security of the non-nuclear states is threatened by the irresponsible and self-focused behaviour of the 9 others. But these 9 are outnumbered by 20 to one. The non-nuclear majority which do not feel the need for a lethal ‘security’ crutch have decided to take the initiative. And rather than focus on the numbers and ‘yields’ of the weapons it was wisely decided to concentrate on the effects on humanity of the use of nuclear weapons. The next logical development, as the nuclear states continue to deny their obligations to shed their arsenals, is for the non-nuclear states to proceed independently to enact a treaty outlawing these weapons internationally. By focusing attention on the humanitarian consequences of their use they are well on their way to doing so.

The first International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons was held in 2013. Humanity owes a great debt to Norway for this initiative.

This ground-breaking and historic conference was attended by delegates from 127 countries and 70 nongovernmental organizations. The nuclear states were invited but declined to attend. It is not easy to face up to the implications of these arsenals especially if you bear the primary responsibility. India and Pakistan sent observers.

After hearing presentations from a wide range of experts on the various effects of nuclear weapon detonations the conference concluded that “it is unlikely that any state or international body could address the immediate humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation in an adequate manner and provide sufficient assistance to those affected.” Conference members also agreed that the effects of a nuclear weapon detonation will not be constrained by national borders but will produce significant negative regional and global effects6.

Mexico offered to host a follow-up meeting to this conference and such is the vital importance of this approach that other states declared their intention to organise additional events on this subject.

The Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons was held in Nayarit, Mexico, on 13 and 14 February 2014. It included delegations representing 146 States, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and civil society organizations.

The powerful summary statement of the conference Chair pointed out that the broad participation of states and civil society reflected the burgeoning awareness that this issue is of the utmost importance to all the peoples of the world. Due to ‘…proliferation, the vulnerability of nuclear command and control networks to cyber-attacks and to human error and potential access to nuclear weapons by non-state actors, in particularly terrorist groups’ the risks are ‘growing globally’.

The risks of ‘accidental, mistaken, unauthorised or intentional use is growing significantly due to more countries holding weapons on higher levels of combat readiness’. As awareness of the humanitarian impact grows hearts and minds are being changed worldwide. These weapons must be outlawed; ‘in the past, weapons have been eliminated after they have been outlawed. We believe this is the path to achieve a world without nuclear weapons’. He called for a ‘legally binding instrument’ and declared that the, ‘time has come to initiate a diplomatic process conducive to this goal. Our belief is that this process should comprise a specific timeframe, the definition of the most appropriate fora, and a clear and substantive framework, making the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons the essence of disarmament efforts. It is time to take action 7.’

The Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons will be held in Austria later this year. The movement for an international ban is unstoppable.

The International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)8 is a coalition of over 350 organisations in 90 countries. Ray Acheson, in her closing statement on behalf of ICAN to the Second Conference included the words ‘The claim by some states that they continue to need these weapons to deter their adversaries has been exposed by the evidence presented at this conference and in Oslo as a reckless and unsanctionable gamble with our future’.

She went on to explain that the use against cities of less than one percent of existing weapons would put billions of lives in jeopardy and have a long lasting detrimental  effect on both the planet’s climate and agriculture. She insisted that we must act to get rid of them or they will be used by accident, misunderstanding or malicious intent. Getting rid of them will take courageous leadership by states but such leadership will have the support of civil society. She concluded ‘It is time to change the status quo. It is time we ban nuclear weapons.

 So with these and other major forces at work there is an unstoppable movement towards banning these Armageddon machines. The nuclear states have become a sorry sight. Frozen in a realm of outdated thinking which was always inhuman; their leaders frightened and paranoid and prepared to put the survival of humanity in jeopardy simply in order to feel important and powerful as they strut, uncomprehending, on the world stage.

Their brief and nightmarish ascendancy is over. The world has moved on.

Notes

1.     http://www.scribd.com/doc/168600341/Bulletin-of-the-Atomic-Scientists-2013

2.      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W88

3.     http://www.psr.org/chapters/washington/energy-and-peace/trident.html

4.      http://www.good.is/post/what-the-volcano-can-teach-us-about-nuclear-war/

5.    http://wagingpeace.org/articles/db_article.php?article_id=417

6.    http://thebulletin.org/mexico-preview-humanitarian-approach-disarmament

7.    http://www.sre.gob.mx/en/images/stories/cih/ci.pdf

8.    http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/ican-closing-statement-to-the-second-conference-on-the-humanitarian-impact-of-nuclear-weapons/

NSA’s Spying Program Set To Become Even Bigger | Zero Hedge

NSA’s Spying Program Set To Become Even Bigger | Zero Hedge.

In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations about the NSA’s ubiquitous presence in everyday lives, and unconstitutional interception, eavesdropping and recording of every form of electronic communication, the logical assumption would be that the next step for the NSA would be its reduction instead of expansion, especially following the president’s heartfelt reading from the TOTUS several months ago in which he promised to do all he could, to curb the spy agency. “Surprisingly” expansion is precisely what will happen to the NSA – as WSJ reports the “government is considering enlarging the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of Americans’ phone records—an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the surveillance program, according to officials.” Unintended? It is very much intended now that Americans know that the concept of privacy is dead and buried and will instead seek other methods to communicate. Which simply means the NSA has to get even bigger in order to thwart the imminent, daily and “clear and present” danger that US citizen-cum-terrorists pose to the US despotic totalitarian state republic.

From WSJ:

A number of government lawyers involved in lawsuits over the NSA phone-records program believe federal-court rules on preserving evidence related to lawsuits require the agency to stop routinely destroying older phone records, according to people familiar with the discussions. As a result, the government would expand the database beyond its original intent, at least while the lawsuits are active.

 

No final decision has been made to preserve the data, officials said, and one official said that even if a decision is made to retain the information, it would be held only for the purpose of litigation and not be subject to searches. The government currently collects phone records on millions of Americans in a vast database that it can mine for links to terror suspects. The database includes records of who called whom, when they called and for how long.

The irony is that all this is happening as the top drama actor of the US pretends to be dismantlling the agency:

President Barack Obama has ordered senior officials to end the government storage of such data and find another place to store the records—possibly with the phone companies who log the calls. Under the goals outlined by Mr. Obama last month, the government would still be able to search the call logs with a court order, but would no longer possess and control them.

At this point we also get the generic revisionist history false negative.

National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander has said the program, if it had existed in 2001, would have uncovered the Sept. 11 plot.

It would have also prevented the Boston bombing if it had existed in 2013. Oh wait…

The lies continue:

As the NSA program currently works, the database holds about five years of data, according to officials and some declassified court opinions. About twice a year, any call record more than five years old is purged from the system, officials said. A particular concern, according to one official, is that the older records may give certain parties legal standing to pursue their cases, and that deleting the data could erase evidence that the phone records of those individuals or groups were swept up in the data dragnet.

Surely this explains why the NSA recently built a facility in Bluffdale which according to rampant speculation can hold virtually every form of communication every intercepted, not to mention everything currently in print or any other stored medium. The thing is: we don’t know how much it can store because none of the data is public.

Which is why the lies will continue until one day today’s shocking scenes from the Ukraine are taking place in every US alley and square. But for now, the S&P is just shy of all time highs, so please continue your distraction.

Meanwhile In The “Democratic” Republic Of Congo… | Zero Hedge

Meanwhile In The “Democratic” Republic Of Congo… | Zero Hedge.

It seems the Democratic Republic of Congo has been learning its diplomacy from other nations…

  • *DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO POLICE FIRE ON OPPOSITION RALLY
  • *CONGO POLICE FIRED TEAR GAS, BULLETS AT RALLY IN BUKAVU
  • *CONGO POLICE BLOCKED OPPOSITION LEADER KAMERHE AT RALLY
  • *CONGO OPPOSITION SAY SEVERAL WOUNDED AFTER SHOTS FIRED

Of course, we will have to see if China (who has been building interest in Africa), Russia, the US, or France (who seem to like to stir things up in Africa) get involved?

Caracas Is Burning As Maduro Warned May Face Military Coup | Zero Hedge

Caracas Is Burning As Maduro Warned May Face Military Coup | Zero Hedge.

With all eyes focused on Ukraine, the situation in Venezuela has once again escalated as protest leader Leopoldo Lopez’ arrest (and possible 10 year jail sentence) prompted more violence overnight. However, as we warned, the government crackdown is starting to raise concerns about the stability of the government.

  • *VENEZUELA PROTESTS ESCALATING INTO NATIONWIDE UNREST: IHS
  • *ESCALATION OF PROTESTS PUTS STABILITY OF GOVT AT RISK: IHS
  • *RISING VIOLENCE COULD LEAD TO MADURO OUSTER BY MILITARY: IHS

As opposition leader Capriles asks Venezuela’s military to uphold the constitution, he exclaims that “the poor’ must participate for government to change.

  • *VENEZUELA HATILLO MAYOR DAVID SMOLANSKY SPEAKS IN CARACAS
  • *VENEZUELA PEOPLE WON’T STAY QUIET: SMOLANSKY
  • *SMOLANSKY SAYS VENEZUELA SUFFERED TERROR LAST NIGHT
  • *SMOLANSKY CALLS FOR MASSIVE VENEZUELA PROTESTS SATURDAY

The opposition leader speaks:

  • *VENEZUELA OFFICIALS SHOT AT PROTESTERS YDAY: CAPRILES
  • *VENEZUELA ARMED FORCES SHOULD ALLOW PEACEFUL MARCHES: SMOLANSKY
  • *VENEZUELA STRENGTHENING TIES WITH CUBA, RAMIREZ SAYS
  • *VENEZUELA GOVT USING VIOLENCE TO HIDE ECO PROBLEMS: CAPRILES
  • *CAPRILES SAYS SOME IN VENEZUELA GOVT WANT MADURO OUT
  • *CAPRILES ASKS VENEZUELA ARMED FORCES TO UPHOLD CONSTITUTION
  • *VENEZUELA POOR MUST PARTICIPATE FOR GOVT TO CHANGE: CAPRILES
  • *CAPRILES SAYS HE WON’T BE FORCED TO TALK TO VENEZUELA GOVT

And IHS warns:

  • *VENEZUELA PROTESTS ESCALATING INTO NATIONWIDE UNREST: IHS
  • *ESCALATION OF PROTESTS PUTS STABILITY OF GOVT AT RISK: IHS
  • *RISING VIOLENCE COULD LEAD TO MADURO OUSTER BY MILITARY: IHS

Images from last night suggest this is getting considerably worse…despite Maduro’s claims of “absolute calm”

and of course the terrible death of a former Miss Venezuela…

Truce Broken – At least 50 Dead As Ukraine Protests Re-Ignite – Live Feed | Zero Hedge

Truce Broken – At least 50 Dead As Ukraine Protests Re-Ignite – Live Feed | Zero Hedge.

At least 50 are deadaccording to Reuters, and hundreds injured as fresh fighting broke out in central Kiev this morning breaking the apparent truce that was in place last night. Who is to blame is up for discussion but of little import in the end as the death toll mounts and live ammunition is being used by the police. A Ukrainian presidential statement said dozens of police were killed or woundedduring the opposition offensive hours after Yanukovich and opposition leaders had agreed on a truce… Other witnesses said they saw government snipers firing into the civilian crowds during the clashes.

The Protesters reportedly captured police…

Activists who recaptured the square, known as Maidan or “Euro-Maidan” to the opposition, appeared to lead away several uniformed officers. Dozens of wounded protesters were being given makeshift first aid treatment in the lobby of the Ukraine Hotel, where many foreign correspondents are staying.

 

Reporters said there were bullet holes in the walls and windows of the hotel overlooking the squareBoth sides have accused the other of using live ammunition.

 

“Black smoke, denotations and gunfire around presidential palace … Officials panicky,” tweeted Polish minister Radoslaw Sikorski to explain the delay in the meeting at Yanukovich’s office, a few hundred meters from the square.

But the protesters had a different view…

Protesters were in a truculent mood despite the overnight lull and columns of men, bearing clubs and chanting patriotic songs headed to Independence Square at 8:30 a.m. (0130 ET).

 

“What truce? There is no truce! It is simply war ahead of us! They are provoking us. They throw grenades at us. Burn our homes. We have been here for three months and during that time nothing burned,” said 23-year-old Petro Maksimchuk.

 

“These are not people. They are killers. Sanctions will not help. They all should be sent into isolation in Siberia.”

The question is – is this Obama’s line being crossed?

 

Live Feed:

 

Civilians taking live fire:

 

Other images show a country in collapse

 

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: