Wednesday, May 28, 2014

SocGen CEO to Ruhle: Putin more rational than some think; wants ‘self-funded’ growth in Russia.

In an interview with Bloomberg’s Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle), Societe Generale Chairman/CEO Frederic Oudea said he has had a ‘good’ experience doing business in Russia on a daily basis and wants to grow there by limiting risk.
Oudea also said:
-   “Self-funded development” in Russia is key
-   SocGen sees many clients going to Russia, wants to accompany them.
-   Putin has been more rational than some people think.
-   No reason for Russia to change rules of doing business in Russia.
-   Talent must be rewarded, but people must be motivated by what they do [re: Banker's pay]
-   Everyone is motivated by pay, but it can’t just be pay, we must build a different culture.
-   Barclays moving toward a SocGen model.

James Rickards: Financial Collapse and Massive Shortages In Gold Coming

Greg Hunter: Financial expert and best-selling author James Rickards’ latest book predicts “the coming collapse of the international monetary system.”  One of the sign posts is countries like Russia declaring it will shed the U.S. Dollar as reserve currency in international trade.  Rickards explains, “Putin said he envisions a Eurasian economic zone involving Eastern Europe, central Asia and Russia.  The Russian Ruble is nowhere near ready to be a global reserve currency, but it could be a regional reserve currency.”
Rickards’ latest best-selling book, “The Death of Money,” was released in April.  Even Rickards is surprised at how fast the economic situation is unfolding.  Rickards says, “If you ask me what has happened since you finished writing the book that comes as a surprise, I would say a lot of the things I talk about in my book are happening faster than I would have expected.  Things that I thought would happen in the 2015 or 2016 time frame seems to be happening now in some ways.  If anything, the tempo of events is faster than expected.  Therefore, some of these catastrophic outcomes may come sooner than I wrote about.”
Rickards goes on to say, “Right now, we are on the precipice now.  When you are on the precipice, it doesn’t mean you fall off immediately, but you are going to fall off because you can see the forces in play.  What I tell clients and investors is it’s not as if we are going to make some mistakes and some bad things are going to happen.  The mistakes have already been made.  The instability is already in the system.  We’re just waiting for that catalyst that I call the snowflake that starts the avalanche.   You don’t worry about the snowflakes; you worry about the snow and that it’s unstable and it’s just waiting to collapse.  That’s what the system is right now; we are just waiting for a catalyst.  People ask me all the time, what could it be?  Technically, my answer is it doesn’t matter because it will be something.  It could be a failure to deliver physical gold.  It could be an MF Global financial failure.  It could be a natural disaster.  It could be a lot of things.  The thing investors need to understand is the catalyst doesn’t matter.  It’s coming because the instability is already there.”

On gold manipulation and when it will end, Rickards says, “It will end when the physical shortage gets to the point that someone fails to deliver; which, at that point, there will be a buying panic.  There could be a buying panic or what some people call a demand shock.  One of the things I said about gold manipulation is if I was the manipulator, I would be embarrassed at this point.  The manipulation is obvious.  The evidence is coming in from all directions. . . . The manipulation is clear.  When will it end?  It will end when there is a physical shortage that pops up somewhere, or it will end with a short squeeze.” 

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Economic Boom & Bust: 98% Risk of Crash This Year

ANALYST: If There Isn’t An Economic Boom, Then There Can’t Be An Economic Bust
From Oppenheimer’s John Stoltzfus (emphasis theirs):
“It is our opinion that the Federal Reserve (as well as the ECB) is less likely to take a misstep in anticipating a change of rates so long as the Fed and the ECB maintain the level of vigilance that they have had in place over the past few years since the Great Crisis… We believe that a slow growth environment coming out of the Great Crisis is best for the economy, the markets, and their respective constituencies. It is our opinion that a modest expansion is preferable to a boom anytime as every boom we can recall in the last three decades has led to a bust of some kind. ‘No boom, no bust!’ is our mantra for now.
Bank of Japan Seeks to End Stimulus, Currency Market in Disbelief
The bond markets and currency markets are out of sync with equity markets and widely-touted economic projections that things are getting better.
Today the spotlight is on Japan.
Bank of Japan Confident 
Financial Storm Chasing With Blinders On: How The Fed Is Driving The Next Bust
7-Year cycle suggest an important high in 2014?
Wall Street: 98% Risk of Crash This Year
Earlier this year, a select group of Wall Street Insiders were surveyed, and the results were ominous. These financial experts and fund managers predicted a 98% chance a stock market crash will happen in the next six months. 
Gary Shilling, one of Wall Street’s top economists, says the S&P Index could drop as low as 800, a 42% decline. 
Jeffrey Gundlach, one of the world’s biggest bond fund managers and CEO of DoubleLine Capital, says the real damage is yet to come and an “ominous third phase” will “far exceed the damage of 2008.”
And Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, author of “The Real Crash: American’s Coming Bankruptcy,” warns, “I am 100% confident the crisis that we’re going to have will be much worse than the one we had in 2008.”
Even billion-dollar investor Warren Buffett is rumored to be preparing for a crash as well. The “Warren Buffett Indicator,” also known as the “Total Market Cap to GDP Ratio,” is breaching sell-alert status and a collapse may happen at any moment. 
Kyle Bass On China’s “Contraction” And “The Fed’s Worst Nightmare”
With the Fed tapering and both China “I don’t think the markets are discounting what’s really happening in China,” and Japan’s currencies likely to weaken, the net impact on the U.S. will be deflationary, Kyle Bass warned in a recent presentation. That trend will be accelerated by the improvement in the balance of trade for the U.S., which had its current account deficit shrink due to increased hydrocarbon production. Bass warns, the crucial moment will come when the U.S. reports a sub-6% unemployment rate, meeting the target it has set for normalizing its monetary policy by ending QE and raising rates. He predicted that will come in July. That will be the Fed’s “worst nightmare,” he said. Raising rates would stifle growth and recreate unemployment problems, which would be disastrous politically, according to Bass.
Warning: The risk is “quite high” in stocks right now
“The risk is quite high over the coming summer months,” Jason Goepfert told me yesterday.
“For investors, I wouldn’t want to make any more additional purchases right now,” he continued. “I would hold back a little bit.”
When Jason talks, I listen…
I rely on Jason – more than anyone else – to help me figure out whether investments are “hated” or not…
Long time readers know that I want to buy “hated” investments. But how do I define hated? What do I look for? And how do I track it?
My go-to source for these answers for years has been Jason Goepfert of
Jason shared some key insights with me yesterday… and I wanted to pass those along to you today…
Jason tracks investor sentiment. He looks for times when investors are extremely optimistic (so he can sell), or when investors are extremely pessimistic (so he can buy).
Right now, in the U.S. stock market, investor sentiment is becoming overly optimistic. And when you see that, typically the upside potential won’t be good over the next few months. Specifically, Jason has a 1-10 scale of stock market “risk.” And right now, he says the risk level is 7 – “well above average.”
What does that mean? “At a risk level of 7, stocks have returned 1.1% on average over the following three months,” he explained. “For comparison, when the risk level is at 3, stocks have returned 5.4% on average over the following three months.” (That’s based on 10 years of data.)
ECONOMIC DEATH — Retail Apocalypse, Record High Derivative Bubble

BANKRUPTCY CRISIS: More U.S. Cities Set To File

Detroit not alone, expect more bankrupt cities: Expert
20 Cities That May Face Bankruptcy After Detroit…
Economist: The Case-Shiller Home Price Report ‘Makes No Sense’
We just got March S&P Case-Shiller home prices that beat expectations.
The numbers showed home prices were cooling, but they nevertheless reflected increases on month-over-month and year-over-year bases.
However, Ian Shepherdson chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics says “this report makes no sense.” This is because “every indicator” of the house market he watches is slowing or falling.
“We don’t know if the March problem is Easter seasonal adjustments or the long-standing issue of fully adjusting for changes in the proportion of foreclosure sales in the sample, but we think the real trend in existing home prices is now flat at best,” Shepherdson writes.
April Durable Goods Bounce On Defense Orders; Machinery Goods Drop Most Since February 2013; CapEx Slides 1.2%
Richard Ravitch: Expect a Tsunami of Municipal Bankruptcies
Richmond & Dallas Fed Miss; Manufacturing Outlook Plunges
“The Market’s Not There” – One World Trade Center Lowers Asking Rents By 10%

George Soros Tells America To Take Their Money Out of the Banks Before It Is too Late

Dave Hodges
May 27, 2014
The present objective of George Soros.
When George Soros is not donating millions to the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), his money  movements have been predictive of an impending economic collapse. This has made him the most watched bankster in the world. If you have any money in a domestic American bank, you would be wise to read this article and act accordingly.
This article is the first of a two part series which is designed to help as many people, as possible, to have as soft of a landing as possible from the devastating effects of an economic collapse that may be right around the corner.

George Soros Is the Enemy of the American People and Traditional American Values

Judge a man by what he does, not by what he says. Through his actions, George Soros is telling the American people to take their money out of the bank before it is too late!
Soros has made billions of dollars in investing and currency trading and has used his fortune to fund a vast array of leftist organizations dedicated to undermining liberty and capitalism. Soros has funded pro-abortion groups, pro-gay marriage organizations, anti-Israel efforts and radical environmental groups who are dedicated to the complete evisceration of American property rights.
soros the nazi
  • Since 2003, Soros has spent more than $52 million funding media properties, including the infrastructure of news—journalism schools, investigative journalism, and even industry organizations. His foundation has been deeply involved in churning out hard-left reporters from Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
  • Soros has direct and very strong ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC and ABC.
  • Soros has also forced his way into the foundations of the journalism industry, through associations like the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Committee to Protect Journalists as he attempts to control public opinion and obscure his intended takedown of the United States.
  • Soros is heavily involved in funding the lobbying for amnesty. His self-funded National Immigration Forum is behind the effort to strong-arm wobbly Republicans to support Congress’s immigration bill that will give full citizenship to illegal immigrants whose “legal” entry into the workforce will destroy the wage structure of this country and hasten the economic crash of the middle class.
Soros' second puppet, Hillary Clinton
George Soros has now accepted a position on the National Finance Council of the Ready for Hillary Super PAC, a group paving the way for a 2016 presidential run for the former first lady and thoroughly disgraced former Secretary of State with regard to the Benghazi affair. It is becoming clear that after the economic collapse, Hillary will become the Commissar of economic, political and social subjugation.
In short, George Soros is on a mission to turn the United States into a socialist utopia devoid of any of its traditional values. Out of chaos comes order and Soros feels compelled to collapse the old in order to usher in the new and this is exactly what America is witnessing.

Soros Is the Ultimate Economic Hit Man

soros puppet obamaJust over 20 years ago, international banker George Soros made his most famous investment by shorting the British pound and pocketing a billion dollars in the process.  Following this watershed event, he has become well known for moving money and then betting on stock market crashes. In several instances, Soros has been known to rig various markets to fail for his own gain as well as the gain of the international banking cartel in Basel.
Several months ago, Soros made raised eyebrows by making  a billion dollar stock bet against the S&P 500. At that particular time, Soros proclaimed, through his actions, that there were warning signs of coming S&P 500 troubles which signaled dangerous times ahead for the US economy. Today, the American Stock Market has an unprecedented bubble which is reminding many of the months leading of the 1929 Stock Market crash.
Disturbingly, Soros has had both accurate and advanced knowledge of market crashes in the past. Subsequently, savvy investors keep a very close eye on his money movements and resulting holdings as Soros is the “Canary in the mine”. He is the world’s ultimate economic hit man and both bankers and politicians watch his every move with fear and apprehension.
According to a 2014 first quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it was revealed that Soros sold his holdings in Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Bank of America. Soros subsequently moved his money and took up new positions in gold and tech stocks associated with Chinese money movement. Soros has moved his money to RF Micro Devices, Nuance Communications, Marvel Technology Group, Nokia Corp., and Cypress Semiconductor. Soros also boosted his stake in Herbalife and took up a new position in Yamana Gold and AuRico Gold, and New Gold Inc.
Soros’ money movements are significant for several reasons. First, he is now betting against both the U.S. Stock Market and now the three major US domestic banks. Second, Soros has obtained a sizable gold portfolio which is something one would want to do if one were expecting, or causing a crash of currency to occur. Finally, and most significantly, Soros is betting against the solvency of the Federal Reserve by running from the three of the major investors (i.e. the three major banks) in the Federal Reserve. This is highly significant  because this is occurring at a time when the Federal Reserve gave permission to various Chinese interests (i.e. all controlled by the Chinese military) to purchase sizable positions in American banking which serves to underwrite and partially fund the Federal Reserve.
It is interesting to note that JP Morgan Chase  has sold their property located at One Chase Manhattan Plaza skyscraper to Fosun International, a Chinese investment firm, for  the bargain basement price of $725 million. This is only the latest in a series of New York real estate purchases by Chinese investors for properties formerly reserved for Federal Reserve members. In part two, I will reveal why the Chinese, and not just America, is walking into a George Soros created trap.

Nothing Financial Occurs In Isolation

As investors scramble to make sense out of Soros’ money movements, it is important to look for collaborating data in peripheral financial interests and we find that various sectors of the American economy are recoiling in anticipation of the American economy going into freefall.
After examining the following facts related to a significant change in money policies, in the 2014 first quarter, when Soros began ditching American banks, I am convinced that the time to have taken your money out of the bank was yesterday. For example, the IMF’s planto steal 10%, for starters, of all bank accounts in Europe, America cannot be far behind. Further, and as of the first quarter of this year, JP Morgan Chase is banning wire transfers from their bank to foreign banks to prevent American capital flight which will surely happen as America wakes up to the desperate situation that the banks are in. JP Morgan Chase is also prohibiting any cash withdrawals of $50,000 or more. HSBC bank  (America) followed suit and, in fact, all major banks are making it more difficult to move money out of the country.

It Is a Case of Simple Math

The media shows a great deal of concern about our debt of $17 trillion dollars and the fact that President Obama is adding $1 trillion per year to the total. The MSM is trying to get you and I to focus on the least troubling of our economic statistics. What the MSM is trying to get the American people see and feel is the metaphorical equivalent of showing anxiety of over having a simple cold when the person is has stage four cancer. There are two other debt-related numbers which are much more telling.
Our national unfunded liabilities (e.g. Social Security, Medicare, etc.) total a whopping $240 trillion dollars and this is not even the worst economic news.
As a result of the hijacking of our economy through the 2008 bailouts, the American people have been saddled with the derivatives debt. Nearly every economic publication estimates the derivatives debt to be in the range of one quadrillion dollars to $1.5 quadrillion dollars. Conservative estimates tell us that this derivatives debt, that has been assumed by the governments of the world, is at least 16 times the entire value of the assets of Planet Earth. This generation can never pay off this debt. Your children, grandchildren and even great-great-great-great-great grandchildren cannot pay off this debt. If the status quo were to remain in place, this debt could not be paid off in the 25th century, the 30th century, nor the 50th century. My estimates place the interest on the debt to exceed the entire value of the world’s assets and the interest is increasing far faster than the governments of the world can even service the debt. Who is the debt owed to? It is owed to the first movers, the owners of the central banking system. And this is who is collapsing the system and George Soros knows this. In fact, he is working to this end.
This is the topic of the next part in this series. Should you take your money out of the bank? If so, when should you do so? And how can you keep what’s yours without going to prison? All of these questions will answered in Part Two.

GATE Bill Murphy – Gold And Silver To Explode To The Upside

Published on May 23, 2014 
GoldSeek Radio’s Chris Waltzek talks to Bill Murphy of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee and La Metropole Cafe.

Virginia Man's Premiums And Deductibles Skyrocket Due To ObamaCare

Malaysia, UK satellite firm release data on missing flight, say families

Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation and British satellite firm Inmarsat today released the data used to determine the path of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, following mounting calls from passengers' relatives for greater transparency.
Relatives of passengers on the missing flight said they had received the data report compiled by Inmarsat and Malaysian officials and they published it on their Facebook page.
The data communications log comprises 14 pieces of data from seven "handshakes," or pairs of numbers, between the aircraft and the satellite, Inmarsat said last week. One number is time information, the other is frequency.
The Boeing 777 with 239 passengers and crew disappeared on March 8 during a scheduled service between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, and is believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean, off western Australia. – Reuters, May 27, 2014.

Malaysia, UK satellite firm release data on missing flight, say families

MH370 Families Facebook page is HERE.


The interview you are about to hear contains some of the most shocking information we’ve ever heard. Our friend and fellow precious metals researcher Road to Roota’s Bix Weir was recently interviewed by History Channel 2 for THREE HOURS as part of their new documentary style series America’s Book of Secrets. The information Bix shared with them on camera was to be aired in the episode titled America’s Book of Secrets: Secret Underground. What Bix said on camera was so shocking, after the interview the entire crew told him that they were going to pull all funds out of their bank accounts. But when Book of Secrets: Secret Underground aired, Bix had been cut from the show — Not one word Bix shared with them was allowed to be broadcast. But you can know it all right now… Find out the shocking secrets the History Channel could NOT broadcast.

Auto parts price-fixing probe rattles industry

Eric Holder
FILE - This Sept. 26, 2013 file photo shows Attorney General Eric Holder pointing to an illustrations of the auto parts during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington. A federal investigation into price fixing in the auto parts industry, made public four years ago with FBI raids in the Detroit area, has mushroomed into the largest antitrust investigation in Justice Department history _ and authorities say it’s not over yet. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — An investigation into price-fixing and bid-rigging in the auto parts industry has mushroomed into the Justice Department's largest criminal antitrust probe ever, and it's not over yet.
The investigation, made public four years ago with FBI raids in the Detroit area, has led to criminal charges against dozens of people and companies, stretched across continents and reverberated through an industry responsible for supplying critical car components.
The collusion has also saddled U.S. drivers with millions of dollars in extra costs.
"It's a very, very safe assumption that U.S. consumers paid more, and sometimes significantly more, for their automobiles as a result of this conspiracy," Brent Snyder, a deputy assistant attorney general in the antitrust division, said in an interview.
So far, 34 individuals have been charged and 27 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so, the Justice Department says. Collectively, they have agreed to pay more than $2.3 billion in fines. New cases have arisen with regularity, with Attorney General Eric Holder promising last September that investigators "would check under every hood and kick every tire."
The most recent development came Thursday, when an executive from a Japanese company was charged with conspiring to fix the prices of heater control panels sold to Toyota and with persuading workers to destroy evidence.
Officials say the investigation stands out not just for its scope but also for the cooperation the authorities have received from Japan, Australia and other countries. Despite the challenges of prosecuting foreign nationals, the Justice Department has won guilty pleas from a series of Japanese executives who opted to get their punishment over with rather than remain under indictment in their home countries and subject to career-crippling travel restrictions.
Though the techniques and strategies sometimes differed, the executives generally carried out the collusion by trading coded emails, meeting at remote locations and destroying documents to avoid paper trails.
With an eye toward eliminating competition and maximizing profits, they exploited an industry that experts say is in some ways vulnerable to collusion: There are a finite number of purchasers and suppliers, there's steady pressure among companies to cut prices — and car parts, unlike certain products that have a great deal of variability, are generally standardized and homogeneous.
"The firms will just make more money if they're able to reach and stick to an agreement to collectively charge higher prices so that customers can't get them to bid against each other," said Spencer Weber Waller, director of the Institute for Antitrust Consumer Studies at the Loyola University Chicago law school. "The problem is, of course, it's a felony in the United States."
The Justice Department first publicly surfaced aspects of the investigation when FBI agents in Detroit raided the offices of Denso Corp, Yazaki North America and Tokai Rika. All three companies have pleaded guilty to their roles in price-fixing and bid-rigging schemes.
Since the raids, the probe has broadened to encompass about $5 billion worth of auto parts, including seat belts, ignition coils, steering wheels, air bags, windshield wipers and rubber parts that dampen vibration.
Similar cartels have formed in industries ranging from oil and gas to cement and vitamins, though there's debate among economists about how long they can last, given the constant incentive for one member to cheat the others and the tendency to collapse under their own weight as they keep growing, said Daniel Crane, a University of Michigan law professor.
But the collusion in these cases, which in some instances lasted more than a decade, was "deftly done," said Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor of, who has followed the auto parts investigation.
"If they get too greedy and they make their prices too high, then someone smells a rat," he said. "When they set their prices and fixed their prices, they had to do it in a way that wasn't obvious and that took into account the entire market, including suppliers that weren't involved."
Wiesenfelder said that while the collusion affected car consumers, it's hard to tell how much the investigation has been noticed by the average driver.
"It's kind of abstract to consumers," he said. "It's not that prices were fixed on cars. That would really hit home."
But there are indications the industry is chastened.
For instance, Bridgestone Corp., a tire and rubber company that pleaded guilty this year, announced that it would strengthen its compliance, discipline employees and that certain board members and executives would forfeit a portion of their compensation.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department says it's looking into additional misconduct in an investigation that bears all the hallmarks of classic antitrust law-breaking.
"This one," Snyder said, "has it all."
Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at

Rising Asian GDP Per Capita Could Trade Gold Higher: Frank Holmes | Kitco News

Kitco News gets U.S. Global’s Frank Holmes thoughts on the presidential election results in Ukraine and how he sees it affecting gold, which was the big news over the weekend. The metal is struggling to breach that $1,300 mark Monday morning and Holmes says that we are simply in a seasonal low seeing as gold historically finds a bottom in either June or July. “It could easily correct here,” he says. “But I think the more important thing that took place was Putin making comments regarding the significance of gold and China.” Looking over at Asia, Holmes says the new Indian leadership seems to be aiming for rising GDP per capita, which would be good for gold demand out of the country. However, he says instability in Thailand may be something to keep an eye on since they are large consumers of the yellow metal. Tune in now to hear some opportunities and threats in the market as well as what he thinks may be gold’s touchdown pass this week. Kitco News, May 26, 2014.

The Role of NATO and the EU on Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

On the first of May, 2014, Tony Cartalucci of Land Destroyer wrote an article entitled “Ukrainian Crisis Was Always About Containing Russia,” where he argued that “NATO's continued existence is hegemonic in nature - its meddling in Ukraine an act of war against Russia.”

In addition, Cartalucci also wrote that “what we have witnessed over the past several months is not ‘Russian aggression,’ but the premeditated destabilization and overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine, and a resulting, and continuously escalating confrontation with Russia as Moscow reacts to the reappearance of Nazis along its borders, backed by NATO and the EU.”

Cartalucci also discussed the importance of the expansion of NATO, particularly in the context of Ukrainian membership into the organization as a method of expanding the Anglo-European empire to the doorstep of Russia on yet another front.

As Cartalucci writes,

So what is NATO doing with Nazi militants in Ukraine? The same thing Adolf Hitler was doing - establishing "breathing room." While the West attempts publicly to portray the crisis in Ukraine as Europe reacting to Russian aggression, behind semi-closed doors they are very open about their agenda in Ukraine and elsewhere along Russia's peripheries - it is and always was about the expansion of Europe and the containment of Russia. 
Recently the corporate-funded NATO think tank, the Atlantic Council, celebrated what it called, "anniversaries of crucial importance to the transatlantic community, including the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 15th anniversary of NATO's first post-Cold War enlargement, and the 10th anniversary of the "big bang" enlargements of both the European Union and NATO." These "enlargements" all took place after the fall of the Cold War - in other words, after NATO's mandate for existing expired. Yet the alliance continued to grow, and not only did it grow, in tandem with the European Union, it did so directly toward Moscow's doorstep with every intention of eventually absorbing Russia as well.

Of course, Cartalucci was correct in pointing out these aspects of the U.S.-Russian conflict surrounding the Ukrainian crisis. On one level, the United States was responsible for the orchestration of a color revolution inside Ukraine as an attempt to scuttle the warming relations between Ukraine and Russia, thus forcing Russia to respond.

On another level, the Anglo-European establishment is attempting to further weaken the geopolitical position of Russia and expand NATO for purposes of containing and eventually dictating policy and demands to the Russian state.

On another level still, the conflict taking place between the Anglo-European NATO alliance is the acting out of a script that has been carefully crafted many years ago with end goal of eliminating the very existence of national sovereignty from across the globe and the ultimate creation of a one-world system with a small but dominant minority reigning at the top of that structure.

One of the architects of the strategy which is currently being implemented by the United States in regards to foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski, is thus a logical source of information when one is attempting to understand the geopolitical movements made by the Anglo-Europeans, Russians, or Chinese.

It should be remembered that it was Brzezinski who, in his book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, uttered the famous statement that “America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being.”[1]

The book, written in 1997, seemed to lament the fact that the public would not support such blatant imperialism unless they truly viewed the crusade to be in their own immediate self-interest. Only fours year later, the public would receive such a “sudden threat or challenge” to their “sense of domestic well-being” in the form of the 9/11 attacks.

However, the Grand Chessboard discusses much more than the lack of desire to wage war by the general public absent a perceived external threat. The book discusses in detail the various major players in the geopolitical game and the methods they may use to achieve their goals of hegemony.

When one considers the possibility that the events taking place in Eastern Europe are much more than the after effects of seemingly unrelated policy or even those of a series of short-term foreign policy decisions made by one or two world powers, it becomes vitally important to seek out the words of the individuals who would have played a role (and still do play a role) in writing and developing the script the world is now following.

For instance, in the words of Brzezinski,
As in chess, American global planners must think several moves ahead, anticipating possible countermoves. A sustainable geostrategy must therefore distinguish between the short-run perspective (the next five or so years), the middle term (up to twenty or so years), and the long run (beyond twenty years). Moreover, these phases must be viewed not as watertight compartments but as part of a continuum. The first phase must gradually and consistently lead into the second – indeed, be deliberately pointed toward it – and the second must then lead subsequently into the third.[2]
Thus, when Brzezinski speaks of the necessity to not only enlarge NATO but to eventually assimilate Russia into the confines of greater Europe, it would be wise to pay attention. Here, in The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski argues that the expansion of NATO and the European Union will serve to reinvigorate greater Europe as well as act as the proverbial carrot by which the more Central and Eastern European countries will be encouraged to facilitate and implement the will of the Anglo-Europeans. The failure to do so, however, runs the risk of awakening a historical Russian imperialism that could challenge Anglo-European hegemony, according to Brzezinski. He writes,
It follows that a wider Europe and an enlarged NATO will serve well both the short-term and the longer-term goals of U.S. policy. A larger Europe will expand the range of American influence – and, through the admission of new Central European members, also increase in the European councils the number of states with a pro-American proclivity – without simultaneously create a Europe politically so integrated that it could soon challenge the United States on geopolitical matters of high importance to America elsewhere, particularly in the Middle East. A politically defined Europe is also essential to the progressive assimilation of Russia into a system of global cooperation. 
Admittedly, America cannot on its own generate a more united Europe – that is up to the Europeans, especially the French and the Germans – but America can obstruct the emergence of a more united Europe. And that could prove calamitous for stability in Eurasia and thus also for America’s own interests. Indeed, unless Europe becomes more united, it is likely to become more disunited again. Accordingly, as stated earlier, it is vital that America work closely with both France and Germany and seeking a Europe that is politically viable, a Europe that remains linked to the United States, and a Europe that widens the scope of the cooperative democratic international system. [3] 
The enlargement of NATO and the EU would serve to reinvigorate Europe’s own waning sense of a larger vocation, while consolidating, to the benefit of both America and Europe, the democratic gains won through the successful termination of the Cold War. At stake in this effort is nothing less than America’s long-range relationship with Europe itself. A new Europe is still taking shape, and if that new Europe is to remain geopolitically a part of the “Euro-Atlantic” space, the expansion of NATO is essential. By the same token, a failure to widen NATO, now that the commitment has been made, would shatter the concept of an expanding Europe and demoralize the Central Europeans. It could even reignite currently dormant or dying Russian geopolitical aspirations in Central Europe. 
Indeed, the failure of the American-led effort to expand NATO could reawaken even more ambitious Russian desires. It is not yet evident – and the historical record is strongly to the contrary – that the Russian political elite shares Europe’s desire for a strong and enduring American political and military presence. Therefore, while the fostering of an increasingly cooperative relationship with Russia is clearly desirable, it is important for America to send a clear message about its global priorities. If a choice has to be made between a larger Euro-Atlantic system and a better relationship with Russia, the former has to rank incomparably higher to America.[4]
Brzezinski goes on to describe the framework of an arrangement between the West and Russia that would have very little – if any – benefits to Russia. His requirements are essentially that Russia be neutered with respect to its ability to make effective and influential regional decisions, that it strategically weaken itself militarily, and even reorganize its governmental structure to the form of a confederacy with three co-equal parts. He writes,
For that reason, any accommodation with Russia on the issue of NATO enlargement should not entail an outcome that has the effect of making Russia a defacto decision-making member of the alliance, thereby diluting NATO’s special Euro-Atlantic character while simultaneously relegating its newly admitted members to second-class status. That would create opportunities for Russia to resume not only the effort to regain a sphere of influence in Central Europe but to use its presence within NATO to play on any American-European disagreements in order to reduce the American role in European affairs. 
It also crucial that, as Central Europe enters NATO, any new security assurances to Russia regarding the region be truly reciprocal and thus mutually reassuring. Restrictions on the deployment of NATO troops and nuclear weapons on the soil of new members can be an important factor in allaying legitimate Russian concerns, but these should be matched by symmetrical Russian assurances regarding the demilitarization of the potentially strategically menacing salient of Kaliningrad and by limits on major troop deployments near the borders of the prospective new members of NATO and the EU. While all of Russia’s newly independent western neighbors are anxious to have a stable and cooperative relationship with Russia, the fact is that they continue to fear it for historically understandable reasons. Hence, the emergence of an equitable NATO/EU accommodation with Russia would be welcomed by all Europeans as a signal that Russia is finally making the much-desired postimperial choice in favor of Europe.[5] 
Russia’s longer-term role in Eurasia will depend largely on the historic choice that Russia has to make, perhaps still in the course of this decade, regarding its own self-definition. Even with Europe and China increasing the radius of their respective regional influence, Russia will remain in charge of the world’s largest single piece of real estate. It spans ten time zones and is territorially twice as large as either the United States or China, dwarfing in that regard even an enlarged Europe. Hence, territorial deprivation is not Russia’s central problem. Rather, the huge Russia has to face squarely and draw the proper implications from the fact that both Europe and China are already economically more powerful and that China is also threatening to outpace Russia on the road to social modernization. 
In these circumstances, it should become more evident to the Russian political elite that Russia’s first priority is to modernize itself rather than to engage in a futile effort to regain its former status as a global power. Given the enormous size and diversity of the country, a decentralized political system, based on the free market, would be more likely to unleash the creative potential of both the Russian people and the country’s vast natural resources. In turn, such a more decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization. A loosely confederated Russia – composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic – would find it easier to cultivate closer economic regulations with Europe, with the new states of Central Asia, and with the Orient, which would thereby accelerate Russia’s own development. Each of the three confederated entities would also be more able to tap local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow’s heavy bureaucratic hand.[6]
It is important to note that, when Brzezinski states that a “decentralized political system, based on the free market,” is desired for Russia, he means a system that is built on privatization, unfettered Capitalism, and the ability of private corporations to loot and exploit “the country’s vast natural resources” as well as its people.

Furthermore, Brzezinski argues that another requirement that West should impose upon Russia is the acceptance of the increase of the sense of nationalism among the countries located in its generally accepted sphere of influence and its national borders. While these countries clearly have a right to their own self-determination and nationalistic identities, Brzezinski is referring more to the radicalization and exploitation of these tendencies than the acceptance of a peoples’ right to rule themselves free from outside interference. Brzezinski’s requirement would thus only be accepted by Russia to its own detriment. In this regard, he states,
A clear choice by Russia in favor of the European option over the imperial one will be more likely if America successfully pursues the second imperative strand of its strategy toward Russia: namely, reinforcing the prevailing geopolitical pluralism in the post-Soviet space. Such reinforcement will serve to discourage any imperial temptations. A postimperial and Europe-oriented Russia should actually view American efforts to that end as helpful in consolidating regional stability and in reducing the possibility of conflicts along its new, potentially unstable southern frontiers. But the policy of consolidating geopolitical pluralism should not be conditioned on the existence of a good relationship with Russia. Rather, it is also important insurance in case such a good relationship fails to truly develop, as it creates impediments to the reemergence of any truly threatening Russian imperial policy.[7]
Brzezinski also points to the importance of Ukraine to his anti-Russian policy. He writes,
It follows that political and economic support for the key newly independent states is an integral part of a broader strategy for Eurasia. The consolidation of a sovereign Ukraine, which in the meantime redefines itself as a Central European state and engages in closer integration with Central Europe, is a critically important component of such a policy, as is the fostering of a closer relationship with such strategically pivotal states as Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, in addition to the more generalized effort to open up Central Asia (in spite of Russian impediments) to the global economy. 
Large-scale international investment in an increasingly accessible Caspian – Central Asian region would not only help to consolidate the independence of its new countries but in the long run would also benefit a postimperial and democratic Russia. The tapping of the region’s energy and mineral resources would generate prosperity, prompting a greater sense of stability and security in the area, while perhaps also reducing the risks of Balkan-type con-external investment, would also radiate to the adjoining Russian provinces, which tend to be economically underdeveloped. Moreover, once the region’s new ruling elites come to realize that Russia acquiesces in the region’s integration into the global economy, they will become less fearful of the political consequences of close economic relations with Russia. In time, a nonimperial Russia could thus gain acceptance as the region’s preeminent economic partner, even though no longer its imperial ruler.[8]
It must be remembered that Brzezinski, when discussing the “choices” available to Russia in terms of its place in the world, stated that Russia would “either [choose]to be a part of Europe as well or [choose]to become a Eurasian outcast, neither truly of Europe nor Asia and mired in its ‘near abroad’ conflicts.”[9]

Notice that, in this statement, the choices provided to Russia by Brzezinski’s philosophy are between total fealty to the European Soviet and total irrelevance. No self-respecting nation would choose either of these two options for its future and this is a fact that Brzezinski is undoubtedly aware of. Thus, it is clear that the Russians are being faced with the non-choice that is the Brzezinski doctrine, a philosophy that, when put into practice, makes conflict virtually inevitable.

Russia is thus faced with the choice of willing subservience or a growing NATO and Europe that will inevitably come knocking on its door for “access” to its vast oil and mineral wealth and demand that whatever political clout it may have in the world be erased.

These types of requirements and conditions cannot help but initiate a direct confrontation.


 [1] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. Pp. 40-41
[2] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. P.198.
[3] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. P. 199.
[4] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. Pp. 200-201.
[5] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. P. 201.
[6] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. P. 202.
[7] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. P. 202-203.
[8] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. P. 203.
[9] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. P.122

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Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)

Austria to audit gold reserves at the Bank of England

Austria is planning to send auditors to the Bank of England in order to verify the existence of Austrias gold reserves stored in british vaults.
The Austrian accountability office will sent a delegation to London in order to check on Austrias gold reserves stored in vaults at the Bank of England. This is reported by Austrian magazine Trend. The measure is seen as a consequence of growing public pressure. There is a rising disbelief among Austrians about the existence of the gold.
“I acknowledge the request. Any grocery store is obliged to do inventory once a year. It is the only way of getting rid of these unreasonable allegations”, Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the National Bank of Austria tells Trend.
Austria officially owns 280 tonnes of gold of which 17 percent are kept in vaults inside the country. Around 150 tonnes are estimated to be stored in London.
In recent years doubts about the existence and the quality of Germanys monetary gold stored at the New York Fed and the Bank of England were raised by a rising number of sceptics. In January the Bundesbank eventually announced plans to repatriate most of Gemanys gold reserves until 2020.
German version

Bad Banks for Nuclear Plants: Utilities Look to German Taxpayers

By Frank Dohmen and Dietmar Hawranek
Workers dismantle elements of the decommissioned Lubmin nuclear power plant in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in this 2013 archive photo.
Workers dismantle elements of the decommissioned Lubmin nuclear power plant in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in this 2013 archive photo.
Fearing astronomical cost overruns, German utility companies want to shift responsibility for dismantling nuclear power plants to the government. Despite the billions of euros in risks it entails, the proposal could still prove attractive for Berlin. 
Germany's latest problem weighs 275,000 tons. That's the cumulative weight of the steel and cement scrap that will come out of the dismantling of the Obrigheim nuclear power plant, which is located in the town of the same name in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg. That scrap includes pipelines, plant sections, turbines, generators and the reactor pressure vessel. It also includes 10,000 tons of potentially radioactive material that will have to be submerged in an ultrasonic bath or processed with a sandblaster to reduce its radioactivity. The most dangerous work will be conducted by remote-controlled robots.
The demolition of a nuclear power plant is a technically complicated undertaking that can take between 15 and 20 years to complete. In the case of Obrigheim, dismantling the power plant will cost energy utility company EnBW, which owns the facility, an estimated €500 million ($684 million). Compared to other plants in Germany, this pressurized-water reactor is relatively small. The dismantling of larger plants like Gundremmingen B or Isar 2 in the state of Bavaria are estimated to cost as much as €1 billion each. Most Germans have assumed that these costs will be picked up by the energy utility companies, which have gleaned billions of euros in profits from these plants. Besides, why should different rules apply to nuclear plant operators than to normal car owners, who have to pay to scrap their car when it's no longer fit for the road?
But the heads of Germany's three major electric utility companies -- E.On CEO Johannes Teyssen, RWE chief Peter Terium and EnBW head Frank Mastiaux -- have come up with what they think is a brilliant plan to transfer the billions in risks related to dismantling nuclear plants. They want to punt responsibility to the state and taxpayers.
Public Trust
The energy executives are proposing the energy industry equivalent of a "bad bank" to transfer their biggest risk: nuclear power plants.
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel introduced her Energiewende, or energy turn-around, policy of phasing out all nuclear energy and shifting largely to renewable energies by 2022. After closing the plants, the next step is for them to be dismantled. Fearing significant risks inherent to that task, industry executives would like to transfer ownership of existing nuclear plants into a public trust that would operate the plants until their closure around eight years from now. The trust would be responsible for dismantling the plants, which is estimated to cost billions, and also for storing radioactive waste.
Graphic: Germany's Nuclear Legacy Zoom
Graphic: Germany's Nuclear Legacy
The bad bank for nuclear power plants would belong to the government. According to the plan, electric utility companies would contribute around €30 billion in reserves, which the government required them to build up over the years in order to cover the future costs of dismantling the plants and storing nuclear waste. The government, in turn, would assume responsibility for all the risks that currently reside with the utility companies. None of the companies involved agreed to provide a response to SPIEGEL.
RWE chief Terium and E.on boss Teyssen informed the government about the general outline of their project early this year. Now details of the plan have been further honed and energy executives, if they have their way, they will soon enter into negotiations with the government.
At the heart of the matter are risks that, at least for now, are impossible for the companies or the government to estimate in any reliable manner. What is clear is that it is unlikely that the €30 billion in reserves that have been set aside by the companies will be sufficient to handle the task.
Important Questions Remain Unanswered
For one thing, the cost of dismantling atomic power plants is often greater than anticipated. And one of the most pressing questions -- where to safely store radioactive waste -- still hasn't been answered in Germany even after a half-century of producing nuclear power in the country.
A review on the safety of the main site for storing waste in Germany, the salt dome in Gorleben in the state of Lower Saxony, is still ongoing, even 30 years after use of it commenced, and a suitable permanent storage facility has yet to exist, even though the utility companies have already spent €1.6 billion for this purpose. Last year, the German government made the decision to also search for suitable storage sites in other states, with the aim of finding a permanent storage facility by 2031. The estimated cost of exploring a single possible storage site is more than €1 billion.
As Germans have learned in recent years, though, costs can quickly explode for major public works projects -- Berlin's unopened new airport or Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie concert hall, for example. But if you think those are complicated construction projects, try building a permanent storage facility where nuclear waste can be safely stored for thousands of years. It is impossible to predict in advance what an enormously complicated undertaking like that would cost -- €10, €20 or €30 billion? That's why the utility companies would like to see that responsibility carried by the government.
Confirmation of the Anti-Nuclear Movement
In many respects, the company's plan seems to definitively confirm that the Anti-Nuclear Movement of the 1970s and 1980s, with its mass protests, was correct in its main assertions. After the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011, it is no longer possible to claim that atomic power is a safe and fully controllable technology. And no legitimate solution has been found for the problem of storing or eliminating nuclear waste. Now, on top of all that, come the full economic disclosures.
The government subsidized nuclear power at the time of its introduction, just as it now lends a state hand in the development of wind and solar energy. Depending on which estimate you go by, somewhere between €17 and €80 billion in taxpayer money has been funneled into nuclear energy. Once the reactors began successfully producing electricity, the profits landed in the coffers of the energy utility companies and their shareholders. Now that the end is approaching for the technology in Germany, the state is expected to assume the risks again.
So far, German Economics and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) has dodged official talks on the issue. A few weeks ago, he cancelled a meeting with the heads of E.on and RWE at an industry event at the last minute. The reason given at the time was that Gabriel wants to first wrap up reforms to Germany's Renewable Energy Act (EEG), the core of the country's transition from nuclear power to renewables.
Government Also Faces Major Risks
Its possible Gabriel won't be able to postpone discussion of the controversial issue for long, because what at first glance might look like a crude attempt by the utility companies to cheaply rid themselves of their radioactive legacies is actually more complicated. It could, in fact, be in the government's interest to take up the companies' offer to negotiate. It's not just E.on, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall who have lots at stake over the nuclear issue -- the government in Berlin also faces considerable risks.
The energy producers are asking for about €15 billion in compensation from the government in several lawsuits. Because the Merkel government decided on a swift exit from nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster, E.on and RWE are bringing their complaints to the German Constitutional Court. At issue is whether the government's decision represented an illegal invasion of the companies' property rights. The sector is expecting the first verdicts in early 2015. The outcome, legal experts say, is hard to predict.
Vattenfall is also asking an arbitration court in Washington for about €3 billion in compensation for the early closure of the Krümmel and Brunsbüttel nuclear reactors. The Energy Charter Treaty allows a foreign company like Vattenfall to turn to American courts, and the German government needs to abide by the verdict, even if it is decided in Washington.
Things aren't looking good for the Nuclear Fuel Tax introduced by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) either. The tax has been imposed since 2011 on uranium and plutonium used by power companies in the generation of atomic energy in exchange for an extension of the permitted lifespan of the nuclear plants. A few weeks ago, the Financial Court in Hamburg ruled the tax to be unconstitutional. If the verdict is upheld by the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court, then Germany could be forced to pay up to €5 billion back to the companies. The government's goal of presenting a balanced budget would then be almost impossible. The energy companies have signaled to the German government that it should include the damage suits in the negotiations. If the government backs the founding of a nuclear bad bank, then company heads Teyssen and Terium would be willing to call off some of their lawsuits or refrain from demanding compensation.
The utility company executives don't see this offer as unmoral or as a threat and attempt to blackmail the government. If it's possible, the head of a corporation has an obligation to sue for the compensation of its stockholders, and if he or she wants to abandon such efforts, then the executive needs a reason.

Government Plan Would Transform Israel Into The World’s First Cashless Society

Will Israel be the first cashless society on the entire planet?  A committee chaired by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff has come up with a three phase plan to “all but do away with cash transactions in Israel”.  Individuals and businesses would still be permitted to conduct cash transactions in small amounts (at least initially), but the eventual goal is to force Israeli citizens to conduct as much business as possible using electronic forms of payment.  In fact, it has been reported that Israeli officials believe that “cash is bad” because it fuels the underground economy and allows people to avoid paying taxes.  It is hoped that requiring most transactions to be conducted in cash will reduce crime and help balance the national budget.  And once 98 or 99 percent of all transactions are cashless, it will not be difficult for the Israeli government (or any other government) to go the rest of the way and ban cash transactions altogether.  But is a cashless society actually desirable?  This is a question that people all over the world will have to start asking as governments increasingly restrict the use of cash.
Back in September, it was announced that the Israeli government had formed a committee to “examine ways to eliminate cash from the Israeli economy”
The government on Tuesday authorized establishment of a committee that will examine ways to eliminate cash from the Israeli economy – the better to prevent citizens from cheating on their taxes. The committee will be chaired by Harel Locker, director of the Prime Minister’s Office.
This committee had the full backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and some of the goals of the committee included finding ways to increase tax revenue and prevent money laundering
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office declared that “around the world, it is recognized that cash is a key element of the illegal economy and money laundering. It allows a wide gap between reported and actual incomes, with the corresponding effect on tax revenues.” By eliminating cash, the PMO said, “it will be possible to expand the tax base, and prevent money laundering.” The committee will study the issue from all its perspectives and make recommendations, the PMO said.
The committee has had quite a few months to examine these issues, and now they have come back with their recommendations.  Just this week we learned that a three phase plan is being proposed…
A special committee headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Harel Locker, has recommended a three-phase plan to all but do away with cash transactions in Israel.
The motivation for examining a cash-less economy is combatting money laundering and other tax-evasion tactics, thereby maximizing potential tax collection and greatly expanding the tax base. This is important considering the enormous strain put on Israel’s national budget by the army, healthcare system and other public services.
The committee estimated that the black market represents over 20 percent of Israel’s GDP, and cash is the facilitating factor. Cash enables tax evasion, money laundering and even financing terrorism.
So what do the specifics of the plan look like?
Well, there will be very strict limits on the use of cash for individuals and businesses, any violations will be considered criminal offenses, and all Israeli banks will be required to issue debit cards to all account holders
What the committee would like to see happen, pending government approval, is greater restriction on the use of cash, limiting the use of checks as a means of payment and exchange for cash, and promotion of the use of electronic (and therefore verifiable) means of payment.
The following guidelines were set out by the committee for the short-term:
  • Limit business transactions done in cash or by check to NIS 7,500 ($2,150) immediately, and reduce that further to NIS 5,000 ($1,433) one year from the date of legislation;
  • Limit private transactions done in cash or by check to NIS 15,000 ($4,300);
  • Any violation of these limits would be a criminal offense warranting a stiff fine.
In conjunction with these new restrictions, Israeli banks would be required to provide all account holders with debit cards to further promote electronic payments.
But of course this move toward a cashless society is not just happening in Israel.
In Sweden, it is estimated that just 3 percent of all transactions involve cash at this point.  In fact, according to an article in the Washington Post, some Swedish banks do not handle cash at all anymore…
In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether.
“There are towns where it isn’t at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash,” complains Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden’s National Pensioners’ Organization.
And the U.S. is starting to move in that direction as well.
According to a study conducted by MasterCard, approximately 80 percent of all consumer transactions in the United States are now cashless.
But isn’t there a downside to all of this?
Just about everything that we do in life involves money.  So yes, a government can track electronic payments to make sure taxes are being paid and money laundering is not happening, but it would also enable a government to do so much more.
If a government can track all of your transactions, it will essentially be able to monitor everywhere you go and pretty much keep track of virtually everything that you do.
If you doubt this, just try to live without any money some time.
You won’t get very far without putting some gas in your vehicle.
And without being able to buy food, you will get hungry pretty quickly.
Are you starting to understand?
This is why governments love the idea of moving toward a cashless society.  It would give them an immensely powerful surveillance tool.
So let us hope that this does not happen in Israel or anywhere else in the world either.
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