Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New York Times, Twitter hacked by Syrian group

By Gerry Shih and Joseph Menn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Media companies, including the New York Times, Twitter and the Huffington Post, lost control of some of their websites Tuesday after hackers supporting the Syrian government breached the Australian Internet company that manages many major site addresses.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a hacker group that has attacked media organizations it considers hostile to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claimed credit for the Twitter and Huffington Post hacks in a series of Twitter messages.
Security experts said electronic records showed that, the only site with an hours-long outage, redirected visitors to a server controlled by the Syrian group before it went dark.
New York Times Co spokeswoman Eileen Murphy tweeted the "issue is most likely the result of a malicious external attack", based on an initial assessment.
The Huffington Post attack was limited to the blogging platform's British web address. Twitter said the hack led to availability issues for 90 minutes but that no user information was compromised.
The attacks came as the Obama administration considers taking military action against the Syrian government, engaged in a civil war against rebels for more than two years.
In August, hackers promoting the Syrian Electronic Army targeted websites belonging to CNN, Time and the Washington Post by breaching a third party service used by those sites.
The SEA managed to gain control of the sites by penetrating MelbourneIT, an Australian Internet service provider that sells and manages domain names including and NYTimes.
The New York Times, which identified MelbourneIT as its domain name registrar and the main hacking victim, told employees not to send sensitive emails from corporate accounts.
MelbourneIT tracked the breach to an Indian Internet service provider, saying two staff members from one of their resellers opened a fake email seeking login details.
"The SEA went after the company specifically to create a high-profile event," CEO Theo Hnarakis told Reuters. "This was quite a sophisticated attack."
One staff member was the direct manager of the NYTimes domain, along with other media companies and had the login and password information of the company in his email, which the hackers accessed.
Hnarakis confirmed that other media organizations were also attacked, but this proved unsuccessful as their customers used a secondary security measure known as a registry lock.
MelbourneIT said it restored the correct domain name settings, changed the password on the compromised account, and locked the records to prevent further alterations.
Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. In a blog post, the company said "it appears DNS (domain name system) records for various organizations were modified, including one of Twitter's domains used for image serving, Viewing of images and photos was sporadically impacted."
Jaeson Schultz, a Cisco Systems researcher, said that in the authoritative records known as WHOIS the Syrian Electronic Army listed itself as the contact for all of, which would have given it the power to take the site offline or place its own content there.
"It seems that their message is redirecting people back to their own website for news about the SEA or about Syria," Schultz said. "They don't seem to be interested in infecting end users, which is a good thing."
Hackers who successfully break into MelbourneIT's systems could potentially redirect and intercept emails sent to addresses under certain domains, researchers said. And users of sites that do not begin with "https" could have been fooled into entering passwords that could have been captured, said Jaime Blasco, a researcher with security firm AlienVault.
Because MelbourneIT serves as the registrar for some of the best known domain names on the Internet, including and, Tuesday's breach could have had potentially catastrophic consequences.
"This could've been one of the biggest attacks we've ever seen, if they were more subtle and more efficient about it," said HD Moore, the chief research officer at Rapid7, a cyber security firm. "They changed just a few sites, but if they had actually gone all out, they could've had most of the Internet watching them run the show."
Media companies, largely ignored by hackers until 2011, have since been targeted by pranksters and suspected Chinese agents, as well as partisans in the Middle East.
(Additional reporting by Michael Sin in SYDNEY; Editing by Michael Perry, Eric Walsh and Ron Popeski)

50 Years After March on Washington Many Americans Are Still Falling Behind: Urban League President

When Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington 50 years ago, the unemployment rate for African-Americans was about twice that of whites—10% vs. 5%—and 74% of African-American children attended segregated schools. Those ratios haven’t changed much since then, but there has been progress.
The number of black families earning at least $100,000 annually and the number of blacks with college degrees have each grown fivefold, and the poverty rate, though near double that of white Americans, has declined from over 40% to under 30%.
But the wealth gap between black and white Americans is growing. White families have six times the wealth of black and Hispanic families, even though the income gap is only twice as large, according to the Urban League.
Related: Economic Mobility Explained with M&M's
Its president, Marc Morial, tells The Daily Ticker: “We’ve had a widening of the economic gap between the wealthiest American and everyone else, and that’s even more severe when we look at people of color.”
One big reason for the growing gap: the lower rate of home ownership for African Americans—about 28% lower, according to a recent Brandeis study. The homeownership rate for blacks is now 43%, little changed from the 41.6% that prevailed in in 1970, when those numbers were first collected. And when the housing bubble burst in the mid to late 2000s, it reduced black families' median wealth by 53%.
“The recession depressed home ownership [for all] and even more among African-Americans and Latinos,” says Morial. Between 2000 and 2011, the black median household income fell from 64% to 58%, making it even harder to buy a home.
The official title of the march on the national mall 50 years ago was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and one one of its key demands was a minimum living wage of $2 an hour for all Americans. That doesn’t sound like much but adjusted for inflation it’s equivalent to $14.80 today—more than double the current $7.25 minimum wage. The minimum wage then was $1.25, which is equivalent to about $9.25 now.
“Many Americans are stuck…and being left behind,” says Morial. “We need a new political consensus to confront the deep economic challenges we face.” Instead, he says, we have budget cuts and sequestration that have reduced growth and cut jobs.
On the bright side Morial sees entrepreneurship rising in the black community as more unemployed workers start their own businesses in order to survive. Such new businesses are ‘“one of the most powerful signs” in today's economy but they employ few workers, says Morial. “We need to unleash the power of those businesses to grow and create jobs.” Watch the video above to learn more about what's changed and what's stayed the same for many Americans since the March on Washington.
Tell Us What You Think!

Markets and U.S. economy ” still ” look like hell!

Stocks declined broadly in early Tuesday trading as investors feared that the possibility of a U.S. military intervention in Syria could become a reality.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 86 points, or 0.6 percent, to 14,858 as of 10:15 a.m. EDT, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 13 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,644. The Nasdaq composite dropped 31 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,626.
Investors have fretted about the possibility of U.S.-led military action against the regime of President Bashar Assad since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that it was “undeniable” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.
“The law of unintended consequences and the history of previous military interventions in the region is not a recipe for political and economic stability,” said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.
Syria debacle getting the blame for global stock slide!
Dow Futures Fall As Investors Fear Syria Strike
New poll: Syria intervention even less popular than Congress – The Washington Post
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll has finally found something that Americans like even less than Congress: the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Syria. Only 9 percent of respondents said that the Obama administration should intervene militarily in Syria; aRealClearPolitics poll average finds Congress has a 15 percent approval rating, making the country’s most hated political body almost twice as popular.
Just 9 % say we should act in Syria , I’m surprised its that high!
Dow down triple digits now!
Yield is down this morning, PM’s are up…flight to safety.
Did see a story where Japan is getting close to having a melt down…the interest payment on their debt has gone up some 14%, and they have A LOT of debt!!!

22 Reasons Why Starting World War 3 In The Middle East Is A Really Bad Idea

By Michael Snyder
Tomahawk cruise missile
While most of the country is obsessing overMiley Cyrus, the Obama administration is preparing a military attack against Syria which has the potential of starting World War 3.  In fact, it is being reported that cruise missile strikes could begin “as early as Thursday“.  The Obama administration is pledging that the strikes will be “limited”, but what happens when the Syrians fight back?  What happens if they sink a U.S. naval vessel or they have agents start hitting targets inside the United States?  Then we would have a full-blown war on our hands.  And what happens if the Syrians decide to retaliate by hitting Israel?  If Syrian missiles start raining down on Tel Aviv, Israel will be extremely tempted to absolutely flatten Damascus, and they are more than capable of doing precisely that.  And of course Hezbollah and Iran are not likely to just sit idly by as their close ally Syria is battered into oblivion.  We are looking at a scenario where the entire Middle East could be set aflame, and that might only be just the beginning.  Russia and China are sternly warning the U.S. government not to get involved in Syria, and by starting a war with Syria we will do an extraordinary amount of damage to our relationships with those two global superpowers.  Could this be the beginning of a chain of events that could eventually lead to a massive global conflict with Russia and China on one side and the United States on the other?  Of course it will not happen immediately, but I fear that what is happening now is setting the stage for some really bad things.  The following are 22 reasons why starting World War 3 in the Middle East is a really bad idea…
#1 The American people are overwhelmingly against going to war with Syria…
Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria’s government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.
About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.
#2 At this point, a war in Syria is even more unpopular with the American people than Congress is.
#3 The Obama administration has not gotten approval to go to war with Syria from Congress as the U.S. Constitution requires.
#4 The United States does not have the approval of the United Nations to attack Syria and it is not going to be getting it.
#5 Syria has said that it will use ”all means available” to defend itself if the United States attacks.  Would that include terror attacks in the United States itself?
#6 Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem made the following statementon Tuesday
“We have two options: either to surrender, or to defend ourselves with the means at our disposal. The second choice is the best: we will defend ourselves”
#7 Russia has just sent their most advanced anti-ship missiles to Syria.  What do you think would happen if images of sinking U.S. naval vessels were to come flashing across our television screens?
#8 When the United States attacks Syria, there is a very good chance that Syria will attack Israel.  Just check out what one Syrian official said recently
A member of the Syrian Ba’ath national council Halef al-Muftah, until recently the Syrian propaganda minister’s aide, said on Monday that Damascus views Israel as “behind the aggression and therefore it will come under fire” should Syria be attacked by the United States.
In an interview for the American radio station Sawa in Arabic, President Bashar Assad’s fellow party member said: “We have strategic weapons and we can retaliate. Essentially, the strategic weapons are aimed at Israel.”
Al-Muftah stressed that the US’s threats will not influence the Syrain regime and added that “If the US or Israel err through aggression and exploit the chemical issue, the region will go up in endless flames, affecting not only the area’s security, but the world’s.”
#9 If Syria attacks Israel, the consequences could be absolutely catastrophic.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising that any attack will be responded to “forcefully“…
“We are not a party to this civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt to attack us we will respond and we will respond forcefully”
#10 Hezbollah will likely do whatever it can to fight for the survival of the Assad regime.  That could include striking targets inside both the United States and Israel.
#11 Iran’s closest ally is Syria.  Will Iran sit idly by as their closest ally is removed from the chessboard?
#12 Starting a war with Syria will cause significant damage to our relationship with Russia.  On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that the West is acting like a “monkey with a hand grenade“.
#13 Starting a war with Syria will cause significant damage to our relationship with China.  And what will happen if the Chinese decide to start dumping the massive amount of U.S. debt that it is holding?  Interest rates would absolutely skyrocket and we would rapidly be facinga nightmare scenario.
#14 Dr. Jerome Corsi and Walid Shoebat have compiled some startling evidence that it was actually the Syrian rebels that the U.S. is supporting that were responsible for the chemical weapons attack that is being used as justification to go to war with Syria…
With the assistance of former PLO member and native Arabic-speaker Walid Shoebat, WND has assembled evidence from various Middle Eastern sources that cast doubt on Obama administration claims the Assad government is responsible for last week’s attack.
You can examine the evidence for yourself right here.
#15 As Pat Buchanan recently noted, it would have made absolutely no sense for the Assad regime to use chemical weapons on defenseless women and children.  The only people who would benefit from such an attack would be the rebels…
The basic question that needs to be asked about this horrific attack on civilians, which appears to be gas related, is: Cui bono?
To whose benefit would the use of nerve gas on Syrian women and children redound? Certainly not Assad’s, as we can see from the furor and threats against him that the use of gas has produced.
The sole beneficiary of this apparent use of poison gas against civilians in rebel-held territory appears to be the rebels, who have long sought to have us come in and fight their war.
#16 If the Saudis really want to topple the Assad regime, they should do it themselves.  They should not expect the United States to do their dirty work for them.
#17 A former commander of U.S. Central Command has said that a U.S. attack on Syria would result in “a full-throated, very, very serious war“.
#18 A war in the Middle East will be bad for the financial markets.  The Dow was down about 170 points today and concern about war with Syria was the primary reason.
#19 A war in the Middle East will cause the price of oil to go up.  On Tuesday, the price of U.S. oil rose to about $109 a barrel.
#20 There is no way in the world that the U.S. government should be backing the Syrian rebels.  As I discussed a few days ago, the rebels have pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda, they have beheaded numerous Christians and they have massacred entire Christian villages.  If the U.S. government helps these lunatics take power in Syria it will be a complete and utter disaster.
#21 A lot of innocent civilians inside Syria will end up getting killed.  Already, a lot of Syrians are expressing concern about what “foreign intervention” will mean for them and their families…
“I’ve always been a supporter of foreign intervention, but now that it seems like a reality, I’ve been worrying that my family could be hurt or killed,” said one woman, Zaina, who opposes Assad. “I’m afraid of a military strike now.”
“The big fear is that they’ll make the same mistakes they made in Libya and Iraq,” said Ziyad, a man in his 50s. “They’ll hit civilian targets, and then they’ll cry that it was by mistake, but we’ll get killed in the thousands.”
#22 If the U.S. government insists on going to war with Syria without the approval of the American people, the U.S. Congress or the United Nations, we are going to lose a lot of friends and a lot of credibility around the globe.  It truly is a sad day when Russia looks like “the good guys” and we look like “the bad guys”.
What good could possibly come out of getting involved in Syria?  As I wrote about the other day, the “rebels” that Obama is backing are rabidly anti-Christian, rabidly anti-Israel and rabidly anti-western.  If they take control of Syria, that nation will be far more unstable and far more of a hotbed for terrorism than it is now.
And the downside of getting involved in Syria is absolutely enormous.  Syria, Iran and Hezbollah all have agents inside this country, and if they decide to start blowing stuff up that will wake up the American people to the horror of war really quick.  And by attacking Syria, the United States could cause a major regional war to erupt in the Middle East which could eventually lead to World War 3.
I don’t know about you, but I think that starting World War 3 in the Middle East is a really bad idea.
Let us hope that cooler heads prevail before things spin totally out of control.

Payday lender Western Sky Financial to stop funding loans on Sept. 3.


Western Sky Financial, a prominent online lender that offers short-term loans at triple-digit interest rates, said it will stop funding loans on Sept. 3 amid mounting legal battles with authorities in several states, including Maryland.
The decision arrives as state and federal regulators are clamping down on payday lending, a burgeoning industry that operates under a patchwork of laws. These loans carry high interest rates and balloon payments that can trap Americans in a cycle of debt, critics say. Industry groups say payday lenders are being persecuted and argue that they serve a need that is not being met by traditional banks.
Officials at Western Sky did not respond to requests for comment, but the firm explicitly said on its Web site that it will no longer provide loans as of September.
Western Sky has been the subject of several lawsuits challenging its lending in states with strict usury laws that cap interest rates on loans. The company is owned by a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member and operates on the tribe’s South Dakota reservation. It claims that the tribe’s sovereign immunity makes the company exempt from following state law.
This month, New York state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, sued the company, alleging that it violated state licensing and usury laws that cap interest rates on loans at 25 percent.
Schneiderman accused the company of charging New Yorkers annual interest rates upward of 355 percent. The lawsuit aims to stop Western Sky from engaging in lending in the state and to void the loans it has already made. The attorney general’s office said the case will go forward despite the company’s decision to stop lending.
Similar actions have been taken against the firm in Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota and Maryland. In 2011, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation issued a cease-and-desist order against Western Sky after receiving a barrage of consumer complaints.
“There has been significant expansion of online lenders, and the driver is technology,” said Mark Kaufman, Maryland’s commissioner of financial regulation. “There is no doubt that the economics of the business change when you can sit behind a computer and make thousands of loans, versus sitting behind a desk and make a few in a day.”
Advocacy groups have long been concerned about the ability of payday lenders to circumvent state laws. Once states began introducing interest rate caps, some lenders migrated online or moved their operations offshore to sidestep laws. Other lenders began forging relationships with Native American groups to take advantage of their sovereign-nation status.
State authorities have stepped up efforts to go after the lenders, especially those operating under Native American sovereignty, with more enforcement actions and lawsuits.
Benjamin M. Lawsky, head of the agency that regulates banks in New York state, this month ordered 35 online and Native American lenders to stop providing online payday loans in the state. In response, two Native American groups filed lawsuits against the state last week, saying its actions violated their federal status.
As states redouble their efforts to police payday lenders, consumer and industry groups are waiting to see what steps the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will take to enhance federal oversight.
The bureau has supervisory and enforcement authority over storefront, online and bank payday lenders. In April, it took a step closer to imposing rules to govern the industry with a research report on the payday-lending landscape. In one key finding, the report said the average borrower took out 10 payday loans in a year and paid $458 in fees.
Peter Barden, a spokesman for the Online Lenders Alliance trade group, said the backlash against payday lenders could deprive millions of Americans of access to small-dollar loans.
“If regulators pressure banks to stop processing these legal payments, it would cut off an important credit choice for millions of underserved consumers,” he said. “It could also send a chilling message to banks who are legally processing these and other transactions.”
Uriah King, vice president of state policy at the Center for Responsible Lending, contends that community banks and credit unions offer small-dollar loans at better rates than payday lenders. Payday loans, he added, are often used to cover recurring expenses, which can trap consumers in unsustainable loans.
“A two-week balloon loan priced at 400 percent is just inherently unsuitable for people who are in the red every month with their basic expenses,” King said.

Treasury chief: U.S. to hit debt ceiling in mid-October

Jack Lew via AFP
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The US will hit its statutory debt ceiling in mid-October, raising the chance that the government will be forced to default on its debts, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Monday.
In a letter to Congress, Lew urged legislators to raise the limit from the current $16.7 trillion, saying to not do so “would cause irreparable harm to the American economy.”
The Treasury has been operating under the ceiling since it reached that level on May 17, helped by “extraordinary measures” to manage expenditures, and a surge in tax receipts above forecasts.
However, Lew said, the latest estimates point to that breathing room being exhausted around the middle of October.
“At that point, the United States will have reached the limit of its borrowing authority, and Treasury would be left to fund the government with only the cash we have on hand on any given day.”
That “would place the United States in an unacceptable position,” Lew said, unable to serve rising commitments to issue payments for health and retirement needs and not able to pay the required salaries.
Moreover, he warned, if investor demand for US government debt declines, the country could face an immediate cash shortfall.
“Indeed, such a scenario could undermine financial markets and result in significant disruptions to our economy.”
Lew said it was not possible to pinpoint the exact day Treasury commitments would exceed its funds.
But, he said, “Under any circumstance… Congress must act before the middle of October.”
Lew’s comments were in a letter addressed to John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.
It came as the White House and both parties in Congress gird for yet another battle over spending that will conflate the debt ceiling and the US budget.
In repeated battles over the past two years Republicans have stalled increases in the debt ceiling to extract commitments to cut spending from President Barack Obama’s Democrats.
The fight in July-August 2011 took the country to the brink, poised between defaulting on obligations to US citizens or defaulting on foreign debt.
While that fate was averted in a last-minute deal, the budget fight was not resolved and Standard & Poor’s dealt the country the first-ever downgrade of its top-flight debt rating.
Lew evoked that scenario again in his letter to Boehner.
Protecting the full faith and credit of the United States is the responsibility of Congress because only Congress can extend the nation’s borrowing authority,” he said.
“Congress should act as soon as possible to protect America’s good credit by extending normal borrowing authority well before any risk of default becomes imminent.”

The Immense (and Needless) Human Misery Caused by Speculative Credit Bubbles

by Charles Hugh-Smith

Financialization and the Neocolonial Model of credit-based exploitation leave immense human suffering in their wake when speculative credit bubbles inevitably implode.
Discussions of the global financial crisis tend to be bloodless accounts of policy and “growth.” This detachment masks the immense and totally needless human misery created by financial engineering. A correspondent with first-hand knowledge of the situation in Cyprus filed this account:

“RE: the Cyprus economic crisis, the politicians are unbowed by the chaos they caused, still behaving as they have always done, preaching populist platitudes, corrupt as ever, unapologetic. A poll showed that 99% of Cypriots believe their government is corrupt.
Yesterday, the former president, Demetris Christofias, appeared before a tribunal investigating the causes of the economic collapse. He tried to force the tribunal to do what he told them, saying, “I am not just any witness, I was the President of the Republic for 5 years”. They told him where to get off and he stormed out.
Little hope for this country. Money leaving. Best talent leaving. Foreign investment in a planned energy hub has been hijacked by the politicians. Cyprus is returning back to what it always was: a tourist destination run by shopkeepers and farmers.Sad days. Most people feel betrayed by the politicians and big powers.”

This report highlights a key dynamic of speculative credit/banking bubbles: they require the complicity of central banks and the state. Speculative bubbles based solely on cash have very short lifespans, as the bubble bursts violently as soon as the gamblers’ cash has been sucked into the vortex.
Truly devastating speculative bubbles require a vast expansion of credit and the corruption of the political class that feeds off the state. As Credit is ultimately managed by the state, central banks and the banking cartel, no speculative credit bubble can arise without the complicity and collaboration of all three.
Speculative credit bubbles are the hallmark of parasitic financial systems and what I term the Neofeudal-Neocolonial Model of Financialization: In the neofeudal, neocolonial model, speculation by the parasitic Aristocracy is backstopped by the taxpayers–the perfection of moral hazard. The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model(May 24, 2012).
Future taxpayers are burdened with crushing mountains of debt taken on to fund corrupt state fiefdoms and politically sacrosanct cartels and constituencies.
Debt (that profits the parasitic financial Aristocracy) is heavily incentivized while saving capital (cash) is punished with negative yields.The incentives to accumulate cash capital and invest it productively rather than speculatively are systematically destroyed.
This is the essence of the neocolonial model: make money cheap, reward consumption and speculation in asset bubbles and draw once-prudent citizens into debt-serfdom. Those not ready for big-mortgage serfdom are snared with $100,000 student loans.

This is the same mechanism used to stripmine colonies with financialization: no coercion necessary. “They did it to themselves.”
This neocolonial model leads to neofeudalism: Once the asset bubble burst, your (phantom) wealth has vanished, but you still owe us the debt. In an economy based on debt, servicing that debt absorbs much of the income. So you need to borrow more to get by.
The destructive incentives, corruption and erosion of productive investment are masked by the rapidly rising phantom wealth created by the bubble in real estate and stocks. Something else happens when speculative credit bubbles inflate housing: rents also rise as the cost of buying homes skyrockets.
As a result, even those who prudently avoided buying into bubbles see their incomes siphoned off.
This is what speculative credit bubbles look like in household terms:
Productivity per worker keeps increasing:

As do financial profits per worker:

Financial profits as a share of the economy have soared:

But the share of a financialized neofeudal economy that flows to workers declines:

Adjusted for inflation, real household incomes stagnate even as the credit bubble boosts the value of assets owned by the financial Aristocracy:

The Neofeudal-Neocolonial Model is playing out everywhere as the home economies are ruthlessly pillaged in the financialized version of the old colonial exploitation model:
The Eurozone’s Three Fatal Flaws (September 21, 2011)

My definition of Neoliberal Capitalism differs significantly from the conventional view: markets are opened specifically to benefit the Central State and global corporations, and risk is masked by financialization and then ultimately passed onto the taxpayers. In this view, the essence of Neoliberal Capitalism is: profits are privatized but losses are socialized, i.e. passed on to the taxpayers via bailouts, sweetheart loans, State guarantees, the monetization of private losses as newly issued public debt, etc.
The consequences of this vast transfer of risk and the cleanup costs of the credit bubble to citizens and debt-serfs is human misery on an immense scale.
Are you in the New York City region? Meet other OfTwoMinds Like-Minded people(via Meetup) interested in building social capital and exploring the alternative ideas presented here. Check it out! (Thank you, Neil T. for establishing this Meetup.)

Stocks: “Drastic Correlation Between Printing And Pumping” – And What It Means When The Printing Ends

Wolf Richter
The Fed’s taper “may not be smooth,” explained Charles Bean, Bank of England deputy governor for monetary policy, at the central-banker shindig in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, over the weekend. He was referring to the currencies, bonds, and stocks of emerging-market economies such as Brazil, Indonesia, and India that have gotten massacred.
It started in May when a cacophony of pronouncements from Fed officials of all stripes began to sow doubt about “QE Infinity,” as QE3 had lovingly been dubbed because, unlike its predecessors, it didn’t have an expiration date. Since then, the concept of “infinity” turned into the concept of “taper” and the vague idea that it could end someday.
Interest rates in the US spiked – well, a little, given how much further they have to go. The 10-year Treasury yield jumped from 1.6% in early May to 2.93% last week, though it has since returned to earth, that is to 2.8%. Mortgage rates jumped over a full percentage point. Junk bond yields skyrocketed. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher mused on Fox: “I think the market has come to realize there’s no QE infinity.”
In an act of central banker irony, the meeting in Jackson Hole was called “Global Dimensions of Unconventional Monetary Policy”; irony because now, five years into the money-printing and bond-buying binge – the “unconventional monetary policy” – they’re thinking about what they have wrought and what the world might come to if they ever stopped the printing binge. They should have held that meeting before they started printing.
Now, five years into it, they’re worried that the mere contemplation of an exit might prick all the gorgeous bubbles they’ve blown around the world and unravel all the intricately woven but otherwise illusory wealth effects.
And a binge it was. Reserve balances with Federal Reserve Banks ranged from about $5 billion to $14 billion for much of 2008. But in September, the money-printing operations took off. By the end of the year, the balances reached $847 billion. The printing continued. And each time the Fed tried to stop – at the end of QE1 and at the end of QE2 – financial markets swooned. So the Fed redoubled it efforts to protect its sacred “wealth effect.” By August 21, 2013, the reserve balances had shot up to $2.193 trillion.

The one thing it didn’t do was create a vibrant economy with lots of well-paid fulltime jobs, at least not in the US.

But it did everything else. It created bubbles, market distortions, capital misallocation, and a tsunami of hot money that washed ashore in unexpected places, particularly in emerging markets. But the tsunami is now receding [my take.... When “QE Infinity” Turns Into A Pipedream: Hot Money Evaporates, Rout Follows – See Emerging Markets].
It also fired up a phenomenal stock market rally in the US – despite the lousy economy. The chart below shows the near perfect correlation between the S&P 500 and the amount of money the Fed printed, as measured by the reserve balances on a logarithmic scale – Ralph Dillon of Global Financial Data called it the “drastic correlation between printing and pumping.”

For years, the Fed preached that its money-printing operations would drive up asset values, and they did, and the Fed took credit for it, took credit for the “recovery” of the housing market, took credit for the bubbles in other asset classes, took credit for the “wealth effect” resulting from its “unconventional monetary policy.”
Money printing would cause asset prices to rise, the Fed had said, and when they rose in perfect correlation, there was no doubt about causation. But as the Fed begins to contemplate the end of the binge, Wall Street is suddenly remembering that correlation isnot causation.
Just because asset prices soared when the Fed was on a drunken printing binge didn’t mean that they soared because of it. In fact, it has now been determined that they soared independently from the Fed’s actions. And the latest is that higher interest rates will neither prick the reflating housing bubble nor pull the rug out from under the stock market. It’s suddenly some sort of vibrant economy and increasingly invisible corporate revenue growth that will drive stocks ever higher. Alas, bond markets and emerging markets, the first to react when the Fed started printing, have already been bloodied; causation did apparently apply to them.
Banks are already feeling the pain. Refinancing mortgages was phenomenally profitable for them – one of the few growth sectors actually spawned by the Fed’s herculean efforts. Banks went on a hiring binge to shuffle all this paper around and extract fees. But now, with rising rates, that business is getting decimated. Read…. A Very Profitable Part Of Banking Goes Totally To Heck

Our Banks Own Airports, Control Power Plants and Much More — How Can We Stop Them from Controlling the Lifelines of the Economy?

Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?
In a  letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dated June 27, 2013, US Representative Alan Grayson and three co-signers expressed concern about the expansion of large banks into what have traditionally been non-financial commercial spheres. Specifically:
[W]e are concerned about how large banks have recently expanded their businesses into such fields as electric power production, oil refining and distribution, owning and operating of public assets such as ports and airports, and even uranium mining.
After listing some disturbing examples, they observed:
According to legal scholar Saule Omarova, over the past five years, there has been a “quiet transformation of U.S. financial holding companies.” These financial services companies have become global merchants that seek to extract rent from any commercial or financial business activity within their reach.  They have used legal authority in Graham-Leach-Bliley to subvert the “foundational principle of separation of banking from commerce”. . . .
It seems like there is a significant macro-economic risk in having a massive entity like, say JP Morgan, both issuing credit cards and mortgages, managing municipal bond offerings, selling gasoline and electric power, running large oil tankers, trading derivatives, and owning and operating airports, in multiple countries.
A “macro” risk indeed – not just to our economy but to our democracy and our individual and national sovereignty. Giant banks are buying up our country’s infrastructure – the power and supply chains that are vital to the economy. Aren’t there rules against that? And where are the banks getting the money?
How Banks Launder Money Through the Repo Market
In an illuminating series of articles on Seeking Alpha titled “ Repoed!”, Colin Lokey argues that the investment arms of large Wall Street banks are using their “excess” deposits – the excess of deposits over loans – as collateral for borrowing in the repo market. Repos, or “repurchase agreements,” are used to raise short-term capital. Securities are sold to investors overnight and repurchased the next day, usually day after day.
The deposit-to-loan gap for all US banks is now about $2 trillion, and nearly half of this gap is in Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo alone. It seems that the largest banks are using the majority of their deposits (along with the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing dollars) not to back loans to individuals and businesses but to borrow for their own trading. Buying assets with borrowed money is called a “leveraged buyout.” The banks are leveraging our money to buy up ports, airports, toll roads, power, and massive stores of commodities.
Using these excess deposits directly for their own speculative trading would be blatantly illegal, but the banks have been able to avoid the appearance of impropriety by borrowing from the repo market. (See my earlier article  here.) The banks’ excess deposits are first used to purchase Treasury bonds, agency securities, and other highly liquid, “safe” securities. These liquid assets are then pledged as collateral in repo transactions, allowing the banks to get “clean” cash to invest as they please. They can channel this laundered money into risky assets such as derivatives, corporate bonds, and equities (stock).
That means they can buy up companies. Lokey writes, “It is common knowledge that prop [proprietary] trading desks at banks can and do invest in a variety of assets, including stocks.” Prop trading desks invest for the banks’ own accounts. This was something that depository banks were forbidden to do by the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act but that was allowed in 1999 by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed those portions of Glass-Steagall.
Republished from: AlterNet

Hungary Sheds Bankers’ Shackles

By Ronald L. Ray
Hungary is making history of the first order.
Not since the 1930s in Germany has a major European country dared to escape from the clutches of the Rothschild-controlled international banking cartels. This is stupendous news that should encourage nationalist patriots worldwide to increase the fight for freedom from financial tyranny.
Already in 2011, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán promised to serve justice on his socialist predecessors, who sold the nation’s people into unending debt slavery under the lash of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the terrorist state of Israel. Those earlier administrations were riddled with Israelis in high places, to the fury of the masses, who finally elected Orbán’s Fidesz party in response.
According to a report on the German-language website “National Journal,” Orbán has now moved to unseat the usurers from their throne. The popular, nationalistic prime minister told the IMF that Hungary neither wants nor needs further “assistance” from that proxy of the Rothschild-owned Federal Reserve Bank. No longer will Hungarians be forced to pay usurious interest to private, unaccountable central bankers.

Stocks open sharply lower on worries about Syria

NEW YORK (AP) — Worries about a potential military strike against Syria are dragging down the stock market in early trading.
Tension is rising between Syria and the West after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday there is "undeniable" evidence of a chemical weapons attack in the Middle East nation. And U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that U.S. forces are ready to act on any order from President Obama.
The Dow Jones industrial average slid 108 points to 14,837 in the first few minutes of trading Tuesday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 14 points at 1,641. The Nasdaq composite fell 39 points at 3,618.
Investments that are considered safer in times of uncertainty rose. Gold and government bond prices climbed.
Oil jumped 3 percent.

Dubai And Saudi Stock Markets Getting Totally Smoked

There's a lot of ugly stuff today. Emerging markets (India, Indonesia, Turkey, etc.) are getting crushed on all the standard emerging market worries. Plus there's all the Syria stuff that seems to be having a financial market impact. You can really see that in Mideast stock markets. Dubai is getting simply demolished,... 

Gen. Wesley Clark Says Pentagon Had Plan in 2001 to Attack Seven Countries in Five Years

This was pointed out by Kelly Gerling
This is an excerpt of Gen. Wesley Clark in a Democracy Now interview with Amy Goodman:
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, "Sir, you've got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you're too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq." This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, "We're going to war with Iraq? Why?" He said, "I don't know." He said, "I guess they don't know what else to do." So I said, "Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?" He said, "No, no." He says, "There's nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq." He said, "I guess it's like we don't know what to do about terrorists, but we've got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, "I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail."
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" -- meaning the Secretary of Defense's office -- "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"
AMY GOODMAN: I'm sorry. What did you say his name was?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I'm not going to give you his name.
AMY GOODMAN: So, go through the countries again.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia and Sudan, and back to Iran.
Um, Thanks, General. If you run for president again, what else won't you bother to mention while supporting a war you opposed before you supported opposing?

MYSTERY: Debt Frozen for 100 Days

100 Days: Treasury Has Kept Debt Frozen at $16,699,396,000,000
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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( - The Treasury Department’s latest official daily accounting of the U.S. government’s receipts, expenditures and borrowings--released this afternoon at 4:00 p.m.--indicates that the legally limited debt of the federal government has now been exactly $16,699,396,000,000 for 100 straight days.
The Daily Treasury Statement released today showed the status of the government’s accounts as of the close of business on Friday, Aug. 23. Because the Treasury does no business over the weekend, the federal government’s debt did not change on Saturday or Sunday.
The statement for Aug. 23 said the federal debt subject to the legal limit set by Congress was $16,699,396,000,000—or $25 million below the current limit of $16,699,421,000,000. Every Daily Treasury Statement since May 17 has also shown the legally limited debt at $16,699,396,000,000, or $25 million below the limit.
During the 100-day period from Friday, May 17 to Sunday, Aug. 25, according to the Treasury, the legally limited debt of the federal government did not change.
On May 17, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent House Speaker John Boehner a letter indicating that the Treasury was then hitting the legal limit on the debt and that he would begin using “extraordinary measures” to allow the government to continue borrowing money without exceeding that limit.
“In total, the extraordinary measures currently available free up approximately $260 billion in headroom under the limit, as described below,” said an appendix to Lew’s letter.
Among the “extraordinary measures” Lew said he could take to create this “headroom” under the debt limit were: 1) not investing new money from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF) in U.S. Treasury securities, which he said would create $6.4 billion in “headroom” per month, 2) not reinvesting $58 billion ion Treasury Securities held by the CSRDF that would be maturing and not reinvesting $16 billion in interest owed to the fund, which would create $74 billion in headroom, 3) suspending the routine daily reinvestment of $160 billion in special Treasury securities held by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan, which would create another $160 billion in headroom, and 4) suspending the routine daily reinvestment of Treasury securities held by the government’s own Exchange Stabilization Fund, which would create another $23 billion in headroom.
In a subsequent letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner on Aug. 2, Secretary Lew said he had originally calculated that the Treasury would stop using the extraordinary measures on Aug. 2. But on that day, he said his new estimate was that the Treasury would keep using extraordinary measures, and thus keep borrowing without running over the legal limit, until Oct. 11.
“I have determined that a ‘debt issuance suspension period,’ previously determined to last until August 2, 2013, will continue through October 11, 2013, the last day that Congress is expected to be in session before the Columbus Day recess,” wrote Lew.
In a new letter that he sent to Speaker Boehner today, Lew estimated that the Treasury can keep borrowing until “the middle of October” until it runs out of headroom.
“Based on our latest estimates, extraordinary measures are projected to be exhausted in the middle of October,” Lew wrote.
Lew told Boehner in this letter: “Moreover, it is not possible for us to estimate with any precision the date on which Treasury would exhaust its cash in this situation. The rate at which cash will be drawn down depends on factors that are inherently variable and irregular, including the unpredictability of tax receipts, changes in expenditure flows under sequestration and the willingness of investors to re-invest in, or ‘roll-over,’ Treasury securities.”
For the last 100 days, there has been no variability at all in the federal government debt subject to the legal limit: It has remained precisely $16,699,396,000,000.
Between now and mid-October when Lew expects to exhaust the extraordinary measures he is now using to keep the debt at that number, Congress and the administration will negotiate the spending bill or bills that are needed to fund the government after this fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
Thus, under Lew's current estimate, the administration and Congress could negotiate new spending bills first—before the exhaustion of the Treasury’s “extraordinary” measures requires them to negotiate a new legal limit on federal borrowing.

Eurogroup chief becomes latest to admit Greece on course for third bailout

Jeroen Dijsselbloem's comments cast shadow over news that eurozone companies are reporting strong growth

Jeroen Dijsselbloem
'The problems in Greece won’t be solved in 2014, so something more will have to happen,' Dijsselbloem told Het Financieele Dagblad. Photograph: Corbis
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, is the latest senior politician to concede that Greece may yet need a third bailout, casting a shadow over news that eurozone companies are reporting their strongest growth for more than two years.
Dijsselbloem, who heads the eurogroup of finance ministers, told Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad: "The problems in Greece won't be solved in 2014, so something more will have to happen." He said the form and scale of another rescue would depend on Greece's progress with economic reforms.
His admission echoed that of the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, who told an election campaign event earlier this week that the bailed-out country still needed more aid. The International Monetary Fund has suggested that there is an €11bn (£9.4bn) shortfall in the current rescue package for Greece.
The spectre of destabilising negotiations over a new bailout, though they are unlikely to get under way until after German elections next month, were a reminder that the eurozone is still not out of the woods, despite an upbeat survey suggesting economic recovery in the 17-member zone is gathering steam.
The monthly purchasing managers' indices, which test the confidence of firms across the 17 member-states, showed both manufacturing and services expanding at their fastest pace since summer 2011.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at data provider Markit, which compiles the indices, said: "The euro area's economic recovery gained momentum in August."
Apolline Menut, of Barclays, said: "The readings confirm that recovery is on track and that GDP should continue to grow in the third quarter."
However, while Germany scored a PMI reading of 53.4 – well above the 50 level which marks expansion, suggesting recovery in the eurozone's largest economy is gathering speed – output in France declined, and at a faster pace than during July, according to the survey, with both manufacturing and services output falling. Williamson said: "A big question mark still hangs over France's ability to return to sustained growth."
Across the eurozone as a whole, export sales rose for the second month in a row, Markit said, and new orders for manufactured goods jumped at their fastest pace since May 2011.
However, some analysts remain more sceptical about whether the nascent upturn – after an 18 month recession – is set to last, particularly if the US Federal Reserve's plan to "taper", or start reducing, its $85bn a month quantitative easing programme continues to push up government bond yields on this side of the Atlantic, raising the cost of borrowing.
A research note from City consultancy Fathom said: "The fundamental structural problems facing the euro area have not gone away. In addition, the potential spillovers from Fed tapering pose a threat to debt sustainability in the periphery … we are a long way from calling an end to the euro area crisis."
Investors were cheered by a similar survey of China's manufacturing survey, published by HSBC, which suggested output may be stabilising, after growth deteriorated sharply at the start of the year. The reading on the purchasing managers' index rose to a stronger-than-expected 50.1 for August, from 47.7 in July – the largest monthly jump in three years.
Analysts said there were hopeful signs that China is succeeding in shifting its growth model away from exports, towards consumer spending.
"Domestic demand is strong enough to support 7.5% [growth] in 2013," said Ken Peng, senior economist at BNP Paribas in Beijing. "Almost all of China's economic data since July has shown improvements and suggests a rebound is under way."
Fears about a so-called hard landing in China have exacerbated recent jitters in financial markets over the fate of emerging economies when the Fed withdraws from QE.
Yields on US government bonds hit a fresh two-year high, as minutes from the Fed's latest meeting, released on Wednesday night, confirmed that QE could start to be phased out as soon as next month.
However, the dollar's relentless rise was briefly checked after a worse-than-expected labour market survey, which suggested new claims for unemployment benefits had risen by 13,000, to 336,000, in the past week.
"The Fed tapering theme continues. The minutes reinforced expectations that the Fed will taper its quantitative easing programme in September and Thursday's jobless claims didn't really change that," said Greg Moore, currency strategist at TD Securities in Toronto.

Greece doesn't need yet another 'rescue' package – it needs a way out

If threatened by Germany with exit from the euro, Greece should not blink, but instead do what's needed to save its economy
State Doctors and Health Workers Protest in Athens
Striking state doctors and health workers protest against cuts in central Athens. Photograph: Aristidis Vafeiadakis/ZUMA Press/Corbis
Greece has become a major issue in the German elections, as politicians debate the effectiveness of EU intervention, including the likely waste of German taxpayers' money. Wolfgang Schäuble, the powerful minister of finance, has openly stated that there will have to be another package for Greece, although the sums are likely to be small. The IMF, meanwhile, has been pushing the EU to accept a restructuring of Greek debt. The debate has also been echoed in Greece, with government sources hinting at some lessening of the burden of debt after the German election, the banking lobby arguing against debt restructuring and the opposition decrying the intervention altogether.
There is no doubt that the Greek programme has failed. In 2010 Greek public debt was just over €300bn, mostly privately held, two thirds of it by lenders abroad and governed by Greek law. The rational option would have been for Greece to declare default, seek a rapid restructuring of its debt and place its economy on a new footing. This would probably have meant exiting the European Monetary Union, a move with considerable costs but also major advantages in allowing the Greek economy to make a fresh start.
Instead, the EU, led by Germany, decided to "rescue" Greece by offering it massive fresh borrowing, while forcing it to submit to severe austerity and wage cuts. The results have been catastrophic: cumulative economic contraction approaching 25%, adult unemployment at nearly 30%, youth unemployment close to 65%, unprecedented poverty, destruction of the welfare state and humanitarian crisis in the urban centres. Greek debt, meanwhile, is currently higher than in 2010, standing at €321bn and, since the economy has collapsed, its ratio to GDP approaches an exorbitant 180%. This is the background to the current debate.
The "rescue" programme has already included a restructuring of Greek debt. Some of it was written off, although most of the losses actually fell on Greek lenders – banks, pension funds and small savers. Its maturity has been lengthened substantially and interest rates have come down dramatically to just over 2%.
The problem is that in 2014-15 Greece must still make debt payments of more than €40bn and, since the rescue programme is ending in 2014, it is not clear where these funds will come from. The government has cut spending dramatically and imposed a storm of taxes; it could also use some money left over from the borrowing of the last three years. Even so, it is highly unlikely to make up the entire sum, particularly as its own finances for 2015-16 remain uncertain. This is the immediate reason why Greece might need a fresh package, perhaps up to €20bn.
The real problem, however, is longer term. The growth potential of Greece has been devastated during the last three years, and the EU policies of cutting wages and privatising public assets at knock-down prices are making things worse. Furthermore, the rescue programme obliges the country to generate a primary fiscal surplus of 4.5% of GDP by 2016 to repay its debt. Imposing austerity on this scale in the midst of unprecedented recession is disastrous, not to mention preposterous. Under these conditions the burden of enormous Greek debt is unbearable, even at rates of 2% and with longer maturities. Interest payments alone will be roughly €7bn annually, a major charge on a shrunken GDP.
So, what should be done? It is time for Greece to show some gumption and stop accepting conditions dictated by German politics. The country does not need another rescue package that would bring a continuation of austerity policies, possibly with some further ineffectual restructuring of its debt. Greece must have a moratorium on debt payments followed by genuine restructuring of its debt, including deep write-offs. This must be accompanied by a lifting of the disastrous policies of austerity and wage cuts. On this basis, the economy could be placed on a different footing that would restore growth potential with social justice.
Germany is implacably opposed to such a prospect and is likely to raise the spectre of exiting the EMU. But we are no longer in 2010. It is now openly acknowledged that the common currency has caused economic and social devastation in the periphery, while increasingly constraining the economies of the core. There is lively debate on the viability and desirability of the euro in France, Spain, Italy, and even Germany. The policies to defend the euro since 2010 have not only destroyed Greece but disrupted the unity of Europe as a whole, putting at risk the entire postwar settlement. If Greece is threatened with exit from this rickety and absurd mechanism, it should not blink but do what is necessary to save its economy and its people.
The current Greek government is, of course, incapable of following such a strategy since it is entirely subservient to the lenders. The only hope lies with the left, led by the official opposition, the party of Syriza. There is profound anger and despair in the country that has rebounded mostly to the benefit of Syriza but also of the fascist right. A government on the left offers a chance to restore some sanity to Greece, helping to change the course of the continent before the ghosts of the past really make a comeback.
Greece does not need another rescue package but a wholesale change of direction. Perhaps even German politicians might then understand what they have truly created in Europe.

Global Stock Markets Slide Amid Double Threat – Oil & Gold Went Straight Vertical – Another Sign of The Market Volatility

Syria and tapering fears send stock markets lower
Equity markets were feeling the pain on Tuesday, as investors flocked into oil, gold and bonds amid growing concerns about a U.S. military intervention in Syria and as confusion about the Federal Reserve’s stimulus program continued to weigh.
Syria premium seen building in oil, gold
Concerns about possible U.S. military intervention in Syria set markets on edge Monday and has now moved up the list of what is worrying traders.
Economic reports are also important, especially after new home sales Friday and durable goods Monday fell short of expectations. There is S&P/Case-Shiller home price data at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday, and consumer confidence at 10 a.m.
Syria Tensions Rattle Global Markets
By Chiara Albanese, Tim Falconer , Ben Winkley
Escalating political tensions between Syria and the U.S. started to bite into markets Tuesday, with U.S. Treasury debt prices, oil prices and safe-haven currencies all climbing as expectations of military intervention in the war-torn country grew. Emerging-market currencies, which have suffered severe outflows over recent weeks amid expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve is moving [...]

Gold Is Having A Huge Day, And It Just Went Straight Vertical
Another sign of the market volatility.

Read more:
Oil Is Having A Big Day
Screen Shot 2013 08 27 at 7.29.41 AMFinViz Gold to the Fed: You are bluffing 
Gold has been getting destroyed by equities for most of 2013, but now that we are approaching tapering time, the metal has turned around, writes Michael Gayed.
Treasurys gain on Syria safety bid ahead of sale
Most Asia markets decline; Philippine shares hit

Darkness at the Break of Noon as the Dawn Breaks and the Dung also Rises..

Dog Poet Transmitting.......

May your noses always be cold and wet.

(Given the utterly strange atmosphere and pending madness of the moment, a Visible Origami is out of the question and we must move directly to Smoking Mirrors.)

Where to begin? Where to begin? Let's start with the external and then gravitate to the internal. Finally we see it in all its gruesome, deep and toxic purple. Finally we see the extent to which Israel and the central bankers control the push of history and the course of events. Surely this is for the purpose of demonstration and that demonstration is having the impact intended for the purpose of its demonstration. For most of us, the world is not what we thought it was. For some of us, even our own world and our own life is not what we thought it was. It is possible that nothing is what any (but a very few) of us thought it was or is. No longer can we say, “it is what it is” because it is not what it is, no more than it was what it was. We are at that point in the song when the man sings, ♫darkness at the break of news♫, We are not yet at the point though, where he sings, ♫There is no point in trying♫ However, at any point we can say, ♫It's alright Ma, I'm only bleeding♫ Except, except... it's not alright.

We now know what a feckless liar John Kerry and Chuck Hagel are. Whatever they have on Kerry must be truly no exit. We can have no doubt how corrupt Bwak! Obama is. There is a huge supporting cast in all of this and we will get to that and it's all connected but... for now, let's focus on the 'dung that also rises'. Let us focus on the shit that floats atop the spoiled milk of a gone dead hierarchy and the lack of leadership that kayaks around it. How desperate they are, goes without saying. The swine who are strategically placed are all doing as they have been told to. The obvious is the super obvious. The ultimate reason, besides ultimate control, is always connected to the money. Follow the money. Yes, it is truly apparent what pressure, of their own making, they are under. It all comes back to the same thing. Like I said, it all comes down to the money. Oh yes, follow the money.

I can hear the Armageddon Train blowing its whistle, as it comes down the grade. I can see the crazed eyes of the engineer and the conductor as they stare through the windshield of this out of control conveyance, making its way down the long incline, into the midst of it all. I can see the crazed and glazed eyes of the manipulators and strategists, in the control centers and switching yards, as they play with the dials and watch the big board of all things, arrange themselves decidedly not in their favor and precipitating the desperate actions of desperate men.

What it all comes down to is; who is really in charge? You can't be in charge, obviously, if you are not in charge and you can't be in charge if things are out of control. Does this make sense? It does to me. So, if they are not in charge, since things are out of control and they are being forced into desperate actions then... who is in charge? It's possible that the force behind all appearances of force and power is in charge and leading the Light (in the ass) Brigade into the Valley of Death. What we don't know is if there are only six hundred of them, or less, or more. What we do know is that the force that is herding and controlling them, ostensibly, or more likely, covertly, works for the one who actually does control everything and this... this, ultimately works out in our favor, should we care to believe and operate according to this possibility. Ultimately we are the beneficiary or victim of what we put our faith in. If what we put our faith in is faithless, well, that leaves us where?

It isn't my job to determine what others believe. My job is to provide options and what follows is the responsibility of where everyone presented with these options takes it. My job is also to choose my own options because that determines my ability and capacity to present options and to argue for or against, or possibly not even argue but simply present and let the recipient make the case, for or against, by observing themselves, others and the world around and... me, insofar as they understand me, or themselves, or others. In the end you are the result of the choices you make, no more or less than me, or others, or the world you see around you; plastic and amendable to the manner in which we perceive this. Take it for what it is worth or not worth to you, based upon the worth you place on yourself, on others and what you see and do not see around you.

It is altogether possible that, by this time next week, at this same time, the world will no longer resemble the world as we knew it, or thought we knew it.

Now on to me. For several years now, I have not understood many of the things that have happened to me. So many things did not make sense. The reason so many things did not make sense was because my perspective did not allow for the one consideration that instantaneously made perfect sense of everything. What will not make sense to many of you is that I cannot talk about any of it. Perhaps at some point in following times I can talk about it but, at the moment, that is impossible and imprudent, although I have written it all down, chapter and verse, with the overwhelming weight of evidence and placed it with a secure source; several secure sources, to be opened in case of 'whatever'.

I now know, to my great relief, that I was not responsible for any of the events of previous years, during my journeys and visitations, except in terms of my not seeing. So I have wandered in angst and confusion about what seemed so inexplicable in the face of my trying so hard. Boy, I tried hard.

What it comes down to is that I just didn't consider myself important enough for the trouble taken with me. I still do not know 'why' this trouble was taken with me. Sure, I can see many variables but... which variable is the correct variable or... are most of them applicable? I do not know, at present, how much of the situations and players are all a part of this. It could run so deep and comprehensive that the truth is staggering. It could go all the way back to before I came to this location. It is truly mind-blowing. It is also 'truly' a great relief. So much is clear to me now and I now know I'm a better man than I thought myself to be. I really am one of the good guys. No matter what follows, this can't be taken away from me, or expunged from my mind. Imagine, just imagine that you suddenly find out that almost nothing is what you thought it was and imagine, just imagine, how you might feel when you place that one missing piece into the puzzle and find that suddenly the whole picture changes in an instant and every other piece of the puzzle now makes a certain sense, in respect of the whole, that it did not make before.

Let me say, while there is time, I love you all very much, even the players as much as the played and... I certainly qualify as the latter. Imagine the impact of such a thing on me; the astonishment and yes, the humor of it all. You may well imagine that it has made me laugh. I would have laughed considerably more, had I not initiated a gallstone in the midst of the mix because I was so taken aback that I neglected to drink the proper amount of fluids. It seems at the moment that this is backing off. I hope so. The pain has been extreme. The good news is that I had some seriously effective pain medication. Even so... it's been noticeable. I can only wonder at what it would have been like, had I not had what I had. It seems to be backing off now. I can only hope. Such things can be serious, in worst case scenario.

I haven't written a posting in days because I have had to assimilate it all. I am still assimilating. I find it hard to look at what little I know so far. Every time I do, another piece of the puzzle falls into place. Yes, I said, 'the final piece of the puzzle' but the reality is; as soon as the final piece of the puzzle fell into place, it magically created several more places, where new pieces are now missing because, when the final piece fell into place, the picture immediately expanded into a much greater size, due to the implications of the appearance of the puzzle, after what was not the final piece, in fact, fell into place. I am thinking that for some of you, this is pretty clear, at least in the overall suspicions. Perhaps it even serves to make sense of what you know about me and have heard about me over recent years. For some, this will be quite mystifying but... given the work the subconscious does, it is only a matter of time before your own puzzle gets backlit by the light of revelation. All things in time my friends and... I do believe you are my friends, ultimately, you are all my friends.

To paraphrase the good book, “We war not against clever and doomed fools in high and invisible places but also against ignorant, low brow idiots in low places. These feckless deluded nimrods are no less responsible for our condition than the butt hairs in the ethers. Then you've got the really twisted freaks, present to fascinate the cretins among us. Programmed embarrassments like this, are the logical outcome of the loins of a Billy Ray Cyrus, whose one hit wonder consists of something like “Achy Breaky Heart”. This is why Visible doesn't use Twitter. Sure I would be better known and more pervasive if I did but what would that pervasiveness consist of? Right. Yes, the sort of people who can only manage 144 characters; the Twits from Twitter and my... how many of them there are.

I've leave you with a question; why would someone who advertises building websites use a horrible purple background in which you can't read the links because the color is nearly the same? Obviously it would be someone who didn't want the business.

I'll leave you swimming in mystery as I do the backstroke into whatever future remains.



End Transmission.......