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Obama To Unveil Treasury IRA Plans, Or Planning For A Post-Monetization World | Zero Hedge

Obama To Unveil Treasury IRA Plans, Or Planning For A Post-Monetization World | Zero Hedge.

Wondering who will take over the mantle of Treasury bond buyer now that the Fed is stepping away? Curious of the government’s next steps towards repression and control of wealth? Wait no longer. As the AP reportsPresident Obama will unveil a new retirement savings plan tonight that allows first-time savers to buy US Treasury bonds tax-deferred for retirement. Of course, this is not the mandatory IRA that remains somewhat inevitable (as the muddle-through fails) but is certainly a step in the direction we alerted readers to a year ago by which the government generously offers to help manage your retirement savings. Two words spring to mind… remember Poland.

 

Via AP,

Eager not to be limited by legislative gridlock, Obama is also expected to announce executive actions on job training, retirement security and help for the long-term unemployed in finding work.

 

Among those actions is a new retirement savings plan geared toward workers whose employers don’t currently offer such plans.

 

The program would allow first-time savers to start building up savings in Treasury bonds that eventually could be converted into a traditional IRAs, according to two people who have discussed the proposal with the administration. Those people weren’t authorized to discuss it ahead of the announcement and insisted on anonymity.

Of course, this is not what the CFPB suggested a year ago… We’re sure the government is just trying to protect your retirement account from terrorists. From Bloomberg:

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is weighing whether it should take on a role in helping Americans manage the $19.4 trillion they have put into retirement savings, a move that would be the agency’s first foray into consumer investments.

 

That’s one of the things we’ve been exploring and are interested in in terms of whether and what authority we have,” bureau director Richard Cordray said in an interview. He didn’t provide additional details.

 

The bureau’s core concern is that many Americans, notably those from the retiring Baby Boom generation, may fall prey to financial scams, according to three people briefed on the CFPB’s deliberations who asked not to be named because the matter is still under discussion.

But it’s getting close.

Though Poland remains the strawman…

EU Calls for 40% Reduction in Greenhouse-Gas Output by 2030 – Bloomberg

EU Calls for 40% Reduction in Greenhouse-Gas Output by 2030 – Bloomberg.

Photographer: HJ Morrill/Getty Images
The European Commission will today outline a strategy to cut pollution and curb rising energy costs. The region’s executive arm will call for an overhaul of the bloc’s policies in the next decade.

The European Union proposed cutting the region’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent in 2030 to accelerate efforts to reduce global warming.

The European Commission outlined its strategy to reduce pollution and curb rising energy costs and called for an overhaul of the bloc’s policies in the next decade, the EU’s executive arm said in a statement today. The current goal is to cut emissions by 20 percent in 2020 from 1990 levels.

The proposed design of future policies pits nations including Germany and the U.K., who are seeking stronger efforts to protect the atmosphere, against Poland and its allies, which rely mainly on fossil fuels to keep their economy humming. It also highlights the divide between energy intensive companies, whose gas and power costs are more than double their U.S. and Asian competitors, and green lobbies such as Greenpeace seeking deeper emission cuts.

“Political agreement on a 2030 EU energy and climate framework is absolutely vital for businesses,” Katja Hall, chief policy director at Confederation of British Industry, the U.K.’s main business lobby group, said by e-mail before the commission’s announcement. “We need long-term certainty to drive investment in a secure, low-carbon and affordable energy future for Europe.”

In the package unveiled today the commission asked member states to consider a 2030 framework that focuses on the carbon-reduction target to avoid conflicts with policies subsidizing renewable energy. The strategy is the start of a debate among member states, which may lead to a draft law in early 2015.

New Proposal

Under the new proposal, the EU wouldn’t extend legally-binding renewables targets for individual member states beyond 2020, instead setting an EU-wide goal to boost the share of renewable energy to 27 percent by 2030.

Scrapping renewable energy targets is “good news” for the economy and environment, according to Robert Stavins, director of Harvard University’s Environmental Economics Program. The renewables goal conflicts with the EU emissions trading system and removing it would lower the cost to achieve the pollution cap, he said.

The package will also include an indicative goal to boost energy efficiency by 25 percent, which will be discussed later this year.

As a part of the proposal, the commission will also seek to strengthen its carbon market cap-and-trade program by making the supply of permits more flexible. A carbon market stability reserve to start in 2021 would withdraw permits once allowances in circulation reached at least 833 million, the commission said in a statement.

The cost of emitting a metric ton of carbon dioxide in the EU’s $53 billion carbon market slumped to a record low of 2.46 euros ($3.32) in April and traded at 5.20 euros today at the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ewa Krukowska in Brussels atekrukowska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

Shale gas, peak oil and our future

Shale gas, peak oil and our future.

The following interview with Richard Heinberg was originally published in Flemish at the Belgian website De Wereld Morgen. The interview was given in conjunction with the release of the Dutch translation of Richard’s Book Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future. The Dutch title is Schaliegas, piekolie & onze toekomst.

Selma Franssen: Considering the shale gas and oil reserves in Europe, is there any sense in fracking here, all other objections aside?
Richard Heinberg: Until test wells are drilled, it’s very difficult to know what the actual shale gas and oil production potential is for Europe. All sorts of numbers have been cited, but they are simply guesses. Back in 2011, the US Energy Information Administration estimated that Poland’s shale gas reserves were 187 trillion cubic feet, but a little on-the-ground exploration led the Polish Geological Institute to downgrade that figure to a mere 27 TCF—a number that may still be overly optimistic. My institute’s research suggests that US future production of shale oil and gas has been wildly over-estimated too. So, without attempting to put a specific number to it, I think it would be wise to assume that Europe’s actual reserves are much, much smaller than the drilling companies are saying. We do know that the geology in Europe is not as favorable as it is in some of the US formations, so even in cases where gas or oil is present, production potential may be low—that is, it may not be possible to get much of that resource out of the ground profitably. That being the case, governments should undertake a realistic cost-risk-benefit analysis using very conservative assumptions about likely production potential.
One argument often heard in Europe is that fracking companies have gained knowledge and experience from extraction in the US and will cause less pollution and leaks when they start operating in Europe. Is there such a thing as safe fracking?
The petroleum industry has certainly been trying to clean up its act, and it’s true that progress has been made in improving operational safety. However it’s also true that the industry has systematically hidden evidence of pollution, and of environmental and human health impacts. The industry has often claimed that there are no documented instances of such impacts, and that’s arrant nonsense. Where environmental and health harms are clear, the industry typically offers a cash payment to the parties affected, but that is tied to a non-disclosure agreement, so that no one else will ever find out what happened. The industry also points to studies showing low methane emissions and no groundwater contamination. These studies tend to describe operations where everything is working perfectly, with no mistakes or malfunctions. But of course in the real world well casings fail, equipment breaks, pipes leak, and operators cut corners or make simple human errors. Take a look at regions of the US where fracking is happening right now, presumably with state-of-the-art equipment: have all the bugs really been worked out? Evidently not, because there is still a steady stream of reports of bad water and bad air.
Are unconventional gas and oil, as ‘transition fuels’, buying us extra time in the face of peak oil, or actually halting investments in renewables?
Unconventional oil and gas require enormous financial investments. The petroleum industry as a whole has doubled its rate of investment in exploration and production in the past decade. That’s because companies have run out of conventional production prospects—onshore fields of oil or gas that is easy and cheap to extract. The trend is clear: if we continue increasing our dependence on oil and gas, the levels of required investment will grow exponentially. Where will the money come from to develop renewable energy sources? Available energy investment capital will all have been spoken for. This is not hypothetical: it is exactly what we see in the US. A few years ago, it was understood that the nation had to transition away from fossil fuels, and there was a nascent effort to divert energy investment capital away from coal, oil, and gas and toward the renewables sector. But as shale gas and tight oil came into view, that effort largely stalled as private investors piled onto the shale bubble and government renewable energy programs were sidelined. Once the brief current shale boom is over (well before the end of this decade), America will be in a fix—it will have lost a decade in which it could have pursued the energy transition vigorously and insulated itself against a fossil energy supply crisis that is inevitable and entirely predictable.
Josh Fox, director of the Gasland documentaries, recently said that the fossil fuel industry is so powerful that “democracy in the 21st century is impossible as long as we rely on fossil fuels”. What are your thoughts?
I think there is some sense to Fox’s comment, though I would have to add that there are plenty of other threats to democracy in this century. It’s true that the fossil fuel industry represents an enormous concentration of capital, and money is power. The industry buys political advantage, tax breaks, advertising, public relations, foreign policy, and more. But at a more basic level it controls all of society. That’s because everything we do requires energy. No exceptions. Fossil fuels supply roughly 85 percent of the energy we use, so whoever controls those energy sources exerts a subtle but very real influence on nearly everything that happens in society. That’s why America is a nation of highways, a country designed and built for the convenience of petroleum-fueled automobiles. If, hypothetically, the US had spent the last century getting most of its energy from sunlight, you can bet it would be a very different place today.
Is it possible that fracking has a silver lining to it, in the sense that it is highly visible, comes very close to home and causes a lot of debate among locals, engaging more people in the energy debate and raising awareness around peak oil and the need to transition to renewables?
Possibly so, especially in Europe. There are at least three important factors that might limit fracking socially and politically in the European context. First is the number of wells needed. Because production rates in shale gas and tight oil wells tend to decline very rapidly, petroleum companies have to drill many wells in order to keep overall production levels up. In the US, the current total is over 80,000 horizontal wells drilled and fracked. If Europe says yes to shale gas, prepare for an onslaught of drilling.
The second factor is population density: Europe, of course, has a much higher population density than the US. So taking these first two factors into account, Europeans face a significant likelihood of living in close proximity to one of these future shale gas or oil wells.
The third factor is the legal status of ownership of subsurface mineral rights. In most of the US, landowners control mineral rights; therefore if a company wants to drill on your land, it must obtain your agreement, pay you an initial fee, and also pay a subsequent royalty for the oil or gas actually extracted. (Gas and oil companies actually avoid paying royalties in many instances, but that’s another story.) As a result, citizens have a financial stake in resource extraction, and they therefore have an incentive to overlook or even help cover up environmental and health impacts from fracking. This is especially true in poor communities, where a little lease or royalty money can go a long way. In Europe, national governments control mineral rights. Therefore there is no incentive for local citizens to take the industry’s side if there are disputes over pollution. There has been a strong citizen backlash to fracking in the US; in Europe it is likely to be overwhelming.
The message ‘peakists’ bring, namely that the party’s over, as you put it, is not popular with corporate backed media, for obvious reasons. Is there a media blackout on peak oil?
There is no formal blackout, but there is indeed an informal one. Peak oil is one of the defining issues of our time, yet it is treated as if it were either an esoteric controversy among petroleum engineers, or a conspiracy theory. This much is axiomatic: fossil fuels are finite resources, and we are extracting them using the “best-first” principle. We have bet our future on the continued availability of cheap oil, gas, and coal, but that is quite obviously a very bad bet. So where are the in-depth television, radio, and newspaper discussions of this? Very few programs and articles appear. I think that’s partly because commercial media outlets depend on the fossil fuel industry for advertising, and partly because the peak oil message is threatening to people’s sense of social equilibrium—it makes them start to question the basic premises of consumerism, among other things.
In Snake Oil, you write that we must reduce our dependency on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Which steps should be taken in this ‘project of the century’ and on what time scale? 
We really need a wartime level of mobilization, prioritization, and implementation. Obviously, one of the priorities must be to build renewable energy generation capacity. But we must also completely rethink transportation, agriculture, and building construction/maintenance. This isn’t just about how we get energy; it is also about how we use it. We have built entire societies to take advantage of the unique properties of energy sources that have no future. For example, oil is energy-dense and portable, making it a perfect transport fuel. Without oil, we will not have an airline industry in any recognizable form. Altogether, society will be less mobile. That means we have to start thinking about how to re-localize production of food and other basic necessities. We also need to redesign our cities so that people do not need cars in order to live. These are enormous projects, and we must accomplish them by mid-century. There is absolutely no time to waste.

IMF Warns These 4 European Nations Are “Potentially Destabilizing” To Global Economy | Zero Hedge

IMF Warns These 4 European Nations Are “Potentially Destabilizing” To Global Economy | Zero Hedge.

Europe is recovering, right? Wrong. As Nigel Farage raged last night, things are not what they seem and even the IMF is now beginning to get concerned again (especially after Lagarde’s call yesterday for moar from Draghi and every other central banker). As Bloomberg’s Niraj Shah notes, it’s not just the PIIGS we have to worry about (or not), Denmark, Finland, Norway and Poland have been added to the IMF’s list of countries with the potential to destabilize the global economy.

 

Via Bloomberg’s Niraj Shah ( @economistniraj ),

The IMF’s decision means the four nations will be subject to mandatory financial sector assessments. The total number of countries on the list has risen to 29 from 25. The IMF’s decision may further undermine the safe-haven status of the Nordic nations, where rising household debt imposes a financial risk.

Ballooning Household Debt

Household debt and government-imposed austerity measures are deterring consumers from spending in the Nordic region. Denmark’s financial regulator is considering curbing banks’ lending policies to address the record household debt load. Danish households owe creditors 321 percent of disposable income, the OECD says. Norway’s household debt reached a record 200 percent of disposable income in 2011.

Austerity Triggered by Rising Government Debt

Finland’s debt-to-GDP ratio will almost double to 60.5 percent by 2015 from 33.9 percent in 2008, the IMF forecasts. The fund estimates the Finnish economy shrank 0.65 percent last year. Polish government debt reached 57.6 percent of GDP last year. A clause in the country’s constitution states that breaching a 55 percent ceiling triggers mandatory austerity measures.

Competitiveness at Risk

Denmark has dropped to 15th place in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness report from third in 2008. Labor costs rose 9.1 percent between 2008 and 2012, compared with an EU average increase of 8.6 percent in the period. Norway has the highest labor costs in Europe at 48.3 euros per hour in 2012, compared with 30.4 euros in Germany. That may undermine competitiveness and the growth outlook.

Most Financially Interconnected Countries

The inclusion of three Nordic nations for mandatory assessment is the result of a new methodology by the IMF that gives more weight to financial interconnectedness. The U.K. is the most financially linked nation in the world, followed by Germany. Seven of the top 10 most interconnected financial nations are in the euro-area.

 

So as the world congratulates itself (most notably Ben Bernanke today), the IMF seems concerned that this could all get worse again very quickly. Think they are all too small to worry about? Remember Lehman?

Gold And Silver – There Are Reasons Greater Than Demand For Owning Them. | InvestmentWatch

Gold And Silver – There Are Reasons Greater Than Demand For Owning Them. | InvestmentWatch.

by Michael Noonan

Here is some very cogent rationale for owning gold and silver.  None pertain to the
ever-ending reasons that demonstrate great demand.  Everyone has been hearing
about them in a steady stream for the past year, and the impact on the market has
been nil.  Often in tandem with the latest news, like record coin sales from…[pick a
mint or country], is the lament from PM holders on where the current price of gold
is, at lows for the past two + years, making many question the validity of owning PMs.

For any self-doubters, especially those who paid for their PMs at 50% to 100% higher
in the past year or two, by example, we still hold some gold purchased at $1800 the
ounce, some silver at $48 the ounce.  That just happened to be where gold and silver
were at the time.   We were engaged on a consistent plan of purchasing, regardless of
price.  There were specific reasons for wanting to own physical gold and silver, and none
of those reasons have changed.  In fact, they have increased.

We now live in a financially insane world.  The government tells everyone that 2 + 2 =
5, consistently, and people continue accept the lies.  If you listen to the government
and the bought-and-paid-for mainstream media, all is well in this country, when in
reality, we are dealing with recession, inflation, joblessness, and general instability.

The biggest problem is debt.  Actually, it is the core issue.  Bury people and countries in
debt, and demand their hard assets as payment in return, aka the Rothschild formula,
in use for hundreds of years.  The debt burden is now so onerous that it is becoming
almost impossible to keep under control.  The elites are so skilled at getting their false
message out, through governments, that people are more than willing to believe the
lies.

Greece was a warning shot for the rest of what passes as a [not so] free world.  The
message?  It is mathematically impossible to sustain the growing debt burden in any
given country with no ability to ever pay it back.  The United States has become a
welfare state for too many of its citizens.  The largest growth sector in this country is
the federal government.  The government produces nothing.  Everything it spends
has to come from the people, or increased borrowing.  It is a tapeworm consuming
its host

The Fed has kept the stock market propped up by tapered window dressing.  Interest
rates are artificially being held low to enable the government and all the banks to keep
the debt Ponzi scheme on life-support, which ultimately leads to death, financially.

Zero rates means keeping the accumulating interest costs of government lower.
Allowing rates to rise to a more normal 3% – 5% would collapse the federal government
and all of the insolvent banks which are responsible for every financial problem everyone
now faces, except the privileged 1%.

No one in the past 100 years, since the Federal Reserve Act was passed and the privately
owned Federal Reserve bank usurped the organic Constitution and took over issuing this
nation’s money, has done anything to abolish the Fed.

“Give me control of a nation’s money, and I care not who makes the laws.”
    -Mayer Amschel Rothschild

It really is not hard to connect the dots if one truly wants to do so.  The information is out
there, but few are willing to seek out the truth, and instead, prefer dwelling in the [dis]
comfort of debt-laden lives.

There was one person who tried to make a difference:  John F Kennedy, when he decided
to print billions of silver-backed  dollar certificates.  The world knows that Kennedy was
assassinated and replaced by Lyndon Baines Johnson.  One of Johnson’s first official acts,
within days of being sworn in, was to rescind Kennedy’s order to issue the silver-backed
certificates.  The elites have their priorities, and puppet presidents must do their bidding.

Why aren’t politicians doing everything possible to get rid of the legal [but not lawful]
privately owned Federal Reserve Banking system that charges the government interest
on the purely fiat money the Fed issues?  Very few people in this country wonder why the
U S government does not issue its own currency, [as it did prior to the Federal Reserve
Act of 1913], and not have to pay interest on the currency issued.  One of the largest
expenses is the federal government is the debt owned to a foreign entity that controls
this country’s own money.  Federal Reserve Notes are not money.  They are debt
instruments.  Debt can never be money.  Dwell on that thought for a while.

The elites use the Federal Reserve to entirely control the government and used FDR
to ban gold ownership in 1933.  Previously, gold and silver were used exclusively in
backing United States Notes and gold and silver coins issued by the U S Treasury.
Since 1933, gold has been absent from the public arena, and 1963 for silver.  So many
in this country are unaware of the important role gold and silver have played.

Prior to 1933, people used gold and silver in all ways of their daily lives.  No one used
credit cards, and people had no need for socialist government services.  This is why
the elites had gold and silver removed from circulation as money.  It was accomplished
over decades, by design, so people would not notice the change and gradually accept
the substituted Federal Reserve Note system.

United States issued Treasury Notes, backed by gold and silver, were allowed to circulate
along side Federal Reserve Notes, [debt instruments], and people began to equate the
two as the same.  At that point, the Federal Reserve began withdrawing all US Treasury
Notes and had them destroyed.

You do not need more statistics about the current shortage of gold and silver, or more
citing on the number of tonnes of gold China continues to import.  That information has
been of little practical use.  What you need to know is the kind of factual history we just
briefly presented in order to know that it is incumbent upon your future to take whatever
measures necessary for surviving the financial time bomb waiting to explode.

It is not important to know what others are doing, but it is critically important to know
what others are doing to you, and what you are going to do for yourself and your family.
It is a proven historical fact that every fiat system has failed, utterly.  The U S is in that
process, right now.

The actions of the government will be your first signs of imminent collapse.   Anyone
who chooses to keep money in the banking system is fodder for the banking whores.
They will steal your money.  It is a known fact that all money you deposit into the banking
system becomes their money, and you, by banking laws, become an unsecured creditor.

The government will raid private pensions, like Hungary and Poland have done.  Your
pension will likely become nationalized, and you may receive a 10 year government bond
in return for whatever money you have saved.  It happened in Argentina just a decade ago.
There is ample evidence throughout the world of what a government will do to survive, at
your expense.

You  want a reason to own gold and silver instead of anything paper-issued?  Forget
about statistics and the demand side of the equation.  All of the events discussed here,
and worse, are on the agenda of the elites to gain world control over everyone.  Without
gold and/or silver, it will be almost impossible to survive what is to come.  No one knows
when, but when it does, and it is a historical certaintyare you really going to care
what you paid for your gold and silver?

We all have choices to make, and we all deal with the consequences of these choices.  Do
not worry if you paid a high price for your gold and silver.  You do not intend to sell it,
so any loss is imagined.  Stay true to what history has proven.  No one knows when the
collapse will be realized, but one has to continue to prepare for the inevitable in a world
that makes no sense, financially.

We were interviewed on this topic, last week, and the audio can be found on our site,
edgetraderplus.com, under the category “Interview,” for anyone interested.

The charts may be closer to showing signs of bottoming.  Here is our current read.

Bearish spacing develops when a low is broken, last April, and the next rally swing high,
August, fails to reach and retest the previous swing low, leaving a space.  It indicates a
weak market.

There was a strong rally on Friday, but when seen on the weekly chart, the results are
less impressive.  That observation is amplified when you compare the last two bar ranges
and respective volume.  The second bar from the end shows ease of upward movement by
a wide range and strong close with volume greater than the previous day.

On Friday, volume increased sharply compared to day 2, yet the price bar range narrowed.
Increased effort, volume, yielded less results, a smaller range.  The reason why the range
narrowed was due to sellers meeting the increased effort of buyers and preventing the
price range from extending higher.

You can expect to see this kind of activity in a down trend where sellers have been in
control.  From a weekly chart perspective, gold continues to struggle, even with a strong
rally effort on Friday.  This is the way to read the “message” of developing market activity.

 

GC W 11 Jan 14

Friday’s rally stopped at a minor resistance area, [thin horizontal line].  Continuation to
the upside would be expected on Monday.  We will now begin to see if gold can develop
a sustained upside rally and begin to change the trend, from down to at least sideways.

GC D 11 Jan 14

The last time silver spent 8 weeks in a TR, June – August, the 9th week was a strong rally.
There are now 8 weeks completed in the current TR, and Monday starts week 9.   The last
three weeks have a close clustering of closes.  This reflects balance between sellers and
buyers, and from balance comes unbalance.

All three of the last closes are upper range, indicating buyers won the battle each week,
and it would indicate that buyers are absorbing the effort of sellers prior to moving
higher.  That is the probability read, but the market always has the final say.

SI W 11 Jan 14

The daily does not have a similar positive read as the weekly, and as we noted on the
chart, the increased volume, last bar, did not quite generate as wide a price range as
occurred 6 bars earlier.  Price is still within the established TR, moving farther along
the Right Hand Side, where resolve takes price out of the TR.

For the moment, momentum is on the buy side.

The futures still have issues, and one cannot buy into rallies in a down trend.  The
physical gold and silver metals also have issues, but the resolve is going to eventually
lead to an explosive upside.  Continue to buy the physical.  These are great prices.

SI D 11 Jan 14
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/gold-and-silver-there-are-reasons-greater-than-demand-for-owning-them/#pgbtod7IBmvBXxH2.99

Russia Stations Tactical, Nuclear-Capable Missiles Along Polish Border | Zero Hedge

Russia Stations Tactical, Nuclear-Capable Missiles Along Polish Border | Zero Hedge.

“Russia will deploy Iskander missile systems in its enclave in Kaliningrad to neutralize, if necessary, the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe.”

– Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president, November 2008 in his first presidential address to the Russian people

2013 was a year when Europe tried to reallign its primary source of natgas energy, from Gazpromia to Qatar, and failed. More importantly, it was a year in which Russia’s Vladimir Putin undisputedly won every foreign relations conflict that involved Russian national interests, to the sheer humiliation of both John Kerry and Francois Hollande. However, it seems the former KGB spy had a Plan B in case things escalated out of control, one that fits with what we wrote a few days ago when we reported that “Russia casually announces it will use nukes if attacked.” Namely, as Bloomberg reports citing Bild, Russia quietly stationed a double-digit number of SS-26 Stone, aka Iskander, tactical, nuclear-capable short-range missiles near the Polish border.

The range of the Iskander rockets:

From Bloomberg:

  • Russia has stationed missiles with a range of about 500 kilometers in its Kaliningrad enclave and along its border with the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Germany’s Bild-Zeitung reports, citing defense officials it didn’t identify.
  • Satellite images show a “double-digit” amount of mobile units identified as SS-26 Stone in NATO code
  • Missiles were stationed within the past 12 months
  • SS-26 can carry conventional as well as nuclear warheads

In other words, Russian quietly has come through on its threat issued in April 2012, when it warned it would deploy Iskander missiles that could target US missile defense systems in Poland. From RIA at the time:

Moscow reiterated on Tuesday it may deploy Iskander theater ballistic missiles in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad that will be capable of effectively engaging elements of the U.S. missile defense system in Poland.

NATO members agreed to create a missile shield over Europe to protect it against ballistic missiles launched by so-called rogue states, for example Iran and North Korea, at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010.

The missile defense system in Poland does not jeopardize Russia’s nuclear forces, Army General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said. 

“However, if it is modernized…it could affect our nuclear capability and in that case a political decision may be made to deploy Iskander systems in the Kaliningrad region,” he said in an interview with RT television.

But that will be a political decision,” he stressed. “So far there is no such need.”

Looks like a little over a year later, the “political decision” was taken as the need is there. But why does Russia need to send a very clear message of escalation at a time when the Cold War is long over, when globalization and free trade, promote game theoretic world peace (or “piece” as the Obama administration wouldsay), oh, and when Russia quietly has decided to reestablish the former USSR starting with the Ukraine.

We’ll leave the rhetorical question logically unanswered.

 

Greece Considering Confiscation Of Private Assets | Zero Hedge

Greece Considering Confiscation Of Private Assets | Zero Hedge. (FULL ARTICLE)

The last time we opined on the possibility of a Cyprus-style “bail-in” in Greece, which is essentially a legally-mandated confiscation of private sector assets held hostage by the local financial system, until such time as the balance sheet of said financial system is viable, we were joking. Well, not really joking.

But not even we thought that a banking sector “bail in”, in which unsecured bank liabilities, which include bonds and of course deposits, are used as a matched source of extinguishment of non-performing bad debt “assets” could spread to the broader economy, and specifically to unencumbered private sector assets. Alas, this is precisely what Greece, which is desperately to delay the inevitable and announce it needs not only a third but fourth bailout, appears keen on doing.

As Kathimerini reports, the Greek Labor and Social Insurance Ministry is “seriously considering drastic measures in order to obtain the social security contributions owed by enterprises and to avoid having to slash pensions and benefits.” What drastic measures? “The ministry is planning to force companies to pay up or face having their assets seized, so that the 14 billion euros of contributions due can be recouped.

After all, it’s only “fair.”

Kathimerini is kind enough to layout the clear-cut problems with this plan which will further crush any potential rebound in the Greek economy:…

 

Poland Confiscates Half Of Private Pension Funds To “Cut” Sovereign Debt Load | Zero Hedge

Poland Confiscates Half Of Private Pension Funds To “Cut” Sovereign Debt Load | Zero Hedge.

 

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