Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Billionaire Investor George Soros Bets $1.3 Billion on U.S. Stock Market Crash

The man who made $1 billion on a single trade shorting the British Pound back in 1992 is now wagering that U.S. stocks will experience a sharp correction in 2014. According to the latest 13F filed by Soros Fund Management, LLC made available last Friday, George Soros has dramatically increased his “put” position on the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) in the fourth quarter of 2013. In fact, the negative bet by Soros last quarter represents a huge 150%+ increase from his position in the third quarter. (A “put” option is bought by investors who believe that a particular security is going to decline in price, and gives the investor the right, but not the obligation, to sell a security at a set price during a specified time.)
According to MarketWatch:
“The value of that holding, the biggest position in the fund, has risen to $1.3 billion from around $470 million. It now makes up a 11.13% chunk of all reported holdings. It had been cut to 5.14% in the third quarter, from 13.54% in the second quarter, which itself marked another dramatic lift on the bearish call.”
(Source: Bullion Baron)
The S&P 500 is overdue for a major correction as the last serious movement to the downside in the index occurred back in the Summer of 2011. The question for investors is “when”, not “if”, the next major downturn in U.S. stocks will begin…

Sony say will cut 5,000 job

Press TV
Japan’s electronics giant Sony will cut some 5,000 jobs around the world, saying it would book great financial losses.
On Thursday, Sony said that the job cuts, part of a restructuring plan, would save about $1.0 billion annually.
The measure, which comes into effect in March 2015, will affect about 1,500 Sony employees in Japan and 3,500 of its workers in other countries.
Sony also announced the sale of the giant’s Vaio-brand PC division to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).
The company said that it had decided to focus on “its mobile product lineup on smart phones and tablets and to transfer its PC business to a new company established by JIP that will enable its continuation.”
Late last month, Moody’s credit rating agency downgraded Sony’s debt rating to “junk” status. The agency warned that the Japanese firm’s profitability would most likely remain “weak and volatile.”
“We expect the majority of [Sony’s] core consumer electronics businesses — such as TVs, mobile, digital cameras and personal computers — to continue to face significant downward earnings pressure,” Moody’s said on January 27.
Sony is also facing major challenges from foreign rivals including South Korea’s Samsung and US giant Apple Inc.

Red Flag Warning – China Starts Dumping U.S. Dollar, Household Debt Climbs by Most Since 2007, Bank Runs Spread To Thailand, And George Soros Bets $1.3 Billion on Stock Market Crash


Now 20 bankers dead! leaps to death from JP Morgan’s headquarters in Central18 February, 2014A man on Tuesday jumped to his death from the top of Chater House in Central, where Wall Street bank JP Morgan has its Asia headquarters, witnesses told the South China Morning Post.The man, said to be in his early 30s, went to the roof of Chater House, a landmark 30-floor building in the heart of Hong Kong’s central business district – also near the city’s stock exchange – and jumped.The incident happened between 2pm to 3pm, a witness said.Several policemen were seen on the roof but apparently failed to convince the man not to jump, one of the witnesses said.According to several JP Morgan employees, the man was a forex trader with the company. a Wave of Banker Suicides, 3 Former Barclays Bankers Now Charged in LIBOR Scandal

Does The Trail Of Dead Bankers Lead Somewhere?

Trail - Photo by Ws47
What are we to make of this sudden rash of banker suicides?  Does this trail of dead bankers lead somewhere?  Or could it be just a coincidence that so many bankers have died in such close proximity?  I will be perfectly honest and admit that I do not know what is going on.  But there are some common themes that seem to link at least some of these deaths together.  First of all, most of these men were in good health and in their prime working years.  Secondly, most of these “suicides” seem to have come out of nowhere and were a total surprise to their families.  Thirdly, three of the dead bankers worked for JP Morgan.  Fourthly, several of these individuals were either involved in foreign exchange trading or the trading of derivatives in some way.  So when “a foreign exchange trader” jumped to his death from the top of JP Morgan’s Hong Kong headquarters this morning, that definitely raised my eyebrows.  These dead bankers are starting to pile up, and something definitely stinks about this whole thing.
What would cause a young man that is making really good money to jump off of a 30 story building?  The following is how the South China Morning Post described the dramatic suicide of 33-year-old Li Jie…
An investment banker at JP Morgan jumped to his death from the roof of the bank’s headquarters in Central yesterday.
Witnesses said the man went to the roof of the 30-storey Chater House in the heart of Hong Kong’s central business district and, despite attempts to talk him down, jumped to his death.
If this was just an isolated incident, nobody would really take notice.
But this is now the 7th suspicious banker death that we have witnessed in just the past few weeks
- On January 26, former Deutsche Bank executive Broeksmit was found dead at his South Kensington home after police responded to reports of a man found hanging at a house. According to reports, Broeksmit had “close ties to co-chief executive Anshu Jain.”
- Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old senior manager at JP Morgan’s European headquarters, jumped 500ft from the top of the bank’s headquarters in central London on January 27, landing on an adjacent 9 story roof.
- Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Russell Investments, fell down a 50 foot embankment in what police are describing as a suicide. He was reported missing on January 29 by friends, who said he had been “having problems at work.”
- Richard Talley, 57, founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was also found dead earlier this month after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.
- 37-year-old JP Morgan executive director Ryan Henry Crane died last week.
- Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, although the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.
So did all of those men actually kill themselves?
Well, there is reason to believe that at least some of those deaths may not have been suicides after all.
For example, before throwing himself off of JP Morgan’s headquarters in London, Gabriel Magee had actually made plans for later that evening
There was no indication Magee was going to kill himself at all. In fact, Magee’s girlfriend had received an email from him the night before saying he was finishing up work and would be home soon.
And 57-year-old Richard Talley was found “with eight nail gun wounds to his torso and head” in his own garage.
How in the world was he able to accomplish that?
Like I said, something really stinks about all of this.
Meanwhile, things continue to deteriorate financially around the globe.  Just consider some of the things that have happened in the last 48 hours…
-According to the Bangkok Post, people are “stampeding to yank their deposits out of banks” in Thailand right now.
-Venezuela is coming apart at the seams.  Just check out the photos inthis article.
-The unemployment rate in South Africa is above 24 percent.
-Ukraine is on the verge of total collapse
Three weeks of uneasy truce between the Ukrainian government and Western-oriented protesters ended Tuesday with an outburst of violence in which at least three people were killed, prompting a warning from authorities of a crackdown to restore order. Protesters outside the Ukrainian parliament hurled broken bricks and Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with stun grenades and rubber bullets.
-This week we learned that the level of bad loans in Spain has risen to a new all-time high of 13.6 percent.
-China is starting to quietly sell off U.S. debt.  Already, Chinese U.S. Treasury holdings are down to their lowest level in almost a year.
-During the 4th quarter of 2013, U.S. consumer debt rose at the fastest pace since 2007.
-U.S. homebuilder confidence just experienced the largest one month decline ever recorded.
-George Soros has doubled his bet that the S&P 500 is going to crash.  His total bet is now up to about $1,300,000,000.
For many more signs of financial trouble all over the planet, please see my previous article entitled “20 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Starting To Catch Fire“.
Could some of these deaths have something to do with this emerging financial crisis?
That is a very good question.
Once again, I will be the first one to admit that I simply do not know why so many bankers are dying.
But one thing is for certain – dead bankers don’t talk.
Everyone knows that there is a massive amount of corruption in our banking system.  If the truth about all of this corruption was to ever actually come out and justice was actually served, we would see a huge wave of very important people go to prison.
In addition, it is an open secret that Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world over the past several decades.  Our big banks have become more reckless than ever, and trillions of dollars are riding on the decisions that are being made every day.  In such an environment, it is expected that you will be loyal to the firm that you work for and that you will keep your mouth shut about the secrets that you know.
In the final analysis, there is really not that much difference between how mobsters operate and how Wall Street operates.
If you cross the line, you may end up paying a very great price.

BANK RUNS SPREADING TO SEVERAL COUNTRIES!!! Japan GDP Collapse, Spain Bad Debt Record, German ZEW Drops, Empire Fed, US Homebuilder Homebuilder Confidence Tumbles.

Gregor Peter ‏@L0gg0l · 1 h
$$ Market talk – Kaspibank in Almaty, Kazakhstan runs out of cash after run on bank
Run on Thai Bank Linked to Rice Subsidy Points to Strain on Economy
BANGKOK—Depositors have withdrawn nearly $1 billion from a bank linked to a foundering rice-subsidy program, the bank said Monday, in one of the first signs that Thailand’s months-old political stalemate is starting to affect the economy.
Adding to the pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a government agency Monday forecast economic growth rates would slow in the months to come because of the unrest. The prime minister has faced street protests since November calling on her to resign.
Bank Runs Spread To Thailand
Thailand’s Government Savings Bank (GSB) president admitted that clients withdrew 30bn Baht (around $1bn) in a single-day last week and Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) and Krungthai Bank (KTB), although of a much smaller magnitude, have also seen withdrawal spikes of similar magnitude according to The Bangkok Post. The ‘bank run’ comes afterspeculation that cash at the state-run banks are being used by the government (which is in turmoil) to fund farmers (who have not received their ‘promised’ rice subsidies of over 130 bn Baht). Withdrawal requests are met with banks warning that there were insufficient funds at the time due to many depositors withdrawing cash. One depositor, rather ironically summed it up, “I started to feel concerned that my money may become only paper.”
Gregor Peter ‏@L0gg0l · 1 h
The year-to-date move of every emerging-market currency [CHART]
The year started with quite a bit of market volatility. Turmoil in the emerging markets was blamed for a 6% sell-off in the S&P 500.
However, markets have recovered dramatically and the S&P 500 is just half a percentage point from its all-time highs. The battered emerging market currencies have come back a bit to. But for the most part, they are still in the red.
“Emerging market currencies have improved following the recent rally in Europe and stateside,” noted Oppenheimer’s John Stoltzfus in a new note to clients. “The Indonesian rupiah leads the currency basket with a YTD gain of 3%. The Argentine peso remains strained as Argentina’s economy continued to face economic and currency headwinds.”
But…but the stock market is up.
Silver Has Longest Winning Streak Since 1968: Spikes To 3-Month High
zerohedge ‏@zerohedge · 2 min
China Sold Second-Largest Amount Ever Of US Treasurys In December: And Guess Who Comes To The Rescue
Bank Runs Spread To Thailand
zerohedge ‏@zerohedge · 26 seg
Japan GDP collapse, Spain bad debt record, German ZEW drops, Empire Fed, US homebuilder conf tumbles, Ukr+Venz on edge of civil war: BTFATH
Sochi Russian Market ‏@russian_market · 1 min
Ukrainians withdraw cash from ATMs in Kiev. It’s getting worse every hour. 
Japan’s disappointing fourth quarter results underscore risks to the country’s … Japan GDP growth slower than expected …
Spanish banks’ bad debt is worth as much as the entire economy of Singapore—and growing
MANNHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - German analyst and investor sentiment fell … But ZEW President Clemens Fuest said the drop ”must not be …
NY Fed’s Empire State Index 4.48 in February
US Homebuilder Confidence Sinks in February
Household debt surges $241 billion in Q4, biggest increase since 2007: NY Fed

Obamacare may cause the government to seize homes from the estates of poor people

In the past 20 years, the state of California has seized $978.5 million worth of assets from the estates of medicaid recipients.
Obamacare requires everyone in the U.S. whose income is less than 138% of the poverty level to enroll in medicaid.
Based on those two pieces of information, it seems likely that Obamacare will result in the homes of quite a few poor people being seized by the government.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
One thing the ACA didn’t change was Medicaid’s estate recovery rule. Under a law enacted in 1993, states are required to seek recovery from the estates of deceased enrollees for the costs of long-term care, such as nursing-home care. The recovery rule applied to those who received that care when they were 55 and older, or who were permanently institutionalized at any age.
Medicaid eligibility for the expanded programs is based on income alone, which means there might be some new members with low incomes but sizable illiquid estates, such as homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The prospect of asset seizures raises people’s hackles, especially since under the Affordable Care Act, those earning less than 138% of the poverty level may be offered no choice for subsidized health insurance except Medicaid.
On the whole, the estate recovery program hasn’t been a big moneymaker for government at any level. Since 1993, California has collected $978.5 million

Global Capitalism Has Written Off The Human Race — Paul Craig Roberts

Global Capitalism Has Written Off The Human Race
Paul Craig Roberts
Economic theory teaches that free price and profit movements ensure that capitalism produces the greatest welfare for the greatest number. Losses indicate economic activities where costs exceed the value of production, thus investment in these activities is curtailed. Profits indicate economic activities where the value of output exceeds its cost, thus investment increases. Prices indicate the relative scarcity and value of inputs and outputs, thus serving to organize production most efficiently.
This theory doesn’t work when the US government socializes cost and privatizes profits as it has been doing with the Federal Reserve’s support of “banks too big to fail” and when a handful of financial institutions have concentrated much economic activity. Subsidized “private” banks are no different from the former publicly subsidized socialized industries of Great Britain, France, Italy, and the former communist countries. The banks have imposed the costs of their incompetence, greed, and corruption on taxpayers. Indeed, the socialized firms in England and France were more efficiently run and never threatened the national economies, much less the entire world, with ruin as do the private US “banks too big to fail.” The English, French, and communists never had to print $1,000 billion dollars annually to save a handful of corrupt and incompetent financial enterprises.
This only happens in “free market capitalism” where the capitalists, with the approval of the corrupt US Supreme Court can purchase the government, which represents them and not the electorate. Thus, the taxation and money creation powers of government are used to support a few financial institutions at the expense of the rest of the country. This is what is meant by “markets are self-regulating.”
Several years ago Ralph Gomery warned me that the damage done to US labor by jobs offshoring was about to be superseded by robotics. Gomery told me that the ownership of the technology patents is highly concentrated and that breakthroughs have made robots increasingly human in their capabilities. Consequently, the prospect for employment of humans is dismal.
Gomory’s words reverberated with me when I read RT’s February 15, 2014, report that computer and robotic experts at Harvard have constructed mobile machines programmed with the logic of termites to be self-organizing and able to complete complex tasks without central direction or oversight.
RT doesn’t understand the implications. Instead of raising a red flag, RT gushes: “The possibilities are vast. The machines can be made to build any three-dimensional structure on their own and with minimal instruction. But what is truly staggering is their ability to adapt to their work environment and to each other; to calculate losses, reorganize efforts and make adjustments. It is already clear that the development will do wonders for humanity in space, hard-to-reach places and other difficult situations.”
The way the world is organized under a few powerful and immensely greedy private interests, the technology will do nothing for humanity. The technology means that humans will no longer be needed in the work force and that emotionless robotic armies will take the place of human armies and have no compunction about destroying the humans on whom they are unleashed. The picture that emerges is more threatening than Alex Jones’ predictions. Faced with little demand for human labor, little wonder thinkers predict that the rich intend to annihilate the human race and live in an uncrowded environment served by their robots. If this story has not been written as science fiction, someone should get on the job before it becomes ordinary reality.
The Harvard scientists are proud of their achievement, as no doubt most of the Manhattan Project participants were about their achievement in producing a nuclear weapon. But the success of the Manhattan Project scientists was not very nice for the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the prospect of nuclear war continues to cast a dark shadow over the world.
The Harvard technology will prove to be an enemy of the human race.
This outcome does not have to be, but free market ideologues think that any planning or foresight is an interference with the market, which always knows best (thus, the current financial and economic crisis). Free market ideology stands in the way of societal control and serves the short-term interests of powerful and greedy private groups. Instead of being used for humanity, the technology will be used for the profits of a handful.
That is the intention but what is the reality? How can there be a consumer economy if there is no employment? There cannot be, which is what we are gradually learning from the offshoring of American jobs by global corporations. For a limited period an economy can continue to function on the basis of part-time jobs, drawing down savings, food stamps, and extended unemployment benefits.
However, when savings are drawn down, when the heartless politicians who demonize the poor cut food stamps and unemployment benefits, the economy ceases to provide a market for the offshored goods that the corporations bring home to sell.
Here we see the total failure of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Each corporation in pursuit of greater managerial “performance bonuses” as determined by profits did its part in producing the destruction of the US consumer market and greater misery for all.
Adam Smithian economics applies to economies in which capitalists have some sense of commonality with other citizens of the country like Henry Ford did, some sense of belonging to a country or to a community. Globalism destroys this sense. Capitalism has evolved to the point where the most powerful economic interests, interests that control the government itself, have no sense of obligation to the country in which their business entities are registered. Except for nuclear weapons, international capitalism is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.
International capitalism has raised greed to a determinant force in world history. Unregulated greed-driven capitalism is destroying the jobs prospects of First World labor and the ability of Third World countries, whose agricultures have been turned into export monocultures serving the global capitalists, to feed themselves. When the crunch comes, the capitalists will let the “other” humanity starve.
As the capitalists declare in their high level meetings, “there are too many people in the world.”

The U.S. Economic death spiral: All the pieces are coming together

The U.S. Economic death spiral: All the pieces are coming together

The Social Security Trust Fund should be solvent and able to continue to pay all benefits (including cost-of-living adjustments each year), except for the fact that although everyone paid into the trust fund with every paycheck and their employers had to match it, Congress stole, pilfered, plundered, and embezzled it all.

By Mary Halloway Love
(INTELLIHUB) – The term “trust fund” is quite ironic, because there is no accountability. Is the answer really to cut the benefits for the most downtrodden?
The costs of fiscal tightening will soar and even more workers will lose their jobs with the implementation of Obamacare—only one of the many consequences that will result from this atrocity. High unemployment is here to stay with this president, especially when the statistics are fabricated to make his numbers meet whatever level or point he says they will. On April 5, 2013, the unemployment numbers warned us that the economy was still slowing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics said that March’s participation rate was at its lowest since 1979.
Along with these troubles, the quantitative easing that the Fed has done results in nothing more than creating additional U.S. Federal Reserve notes. As Bill Gross said, it is nothing but then “monetary Red Bull.” Quantitative easing may be a quick shot in the arm, but the crash is hard. In addition, there have been no increases in recovery to speak of in the most crucial areas: jobs, inflation, and a bloated federal government. Instead, it seems the federal government is trying to completely take over all the states and absorb their power.
As if a slowing global economy along with slow domestic growth wasn’t bad enough, news breaks of $1 trillion in student loan debt on the books in the country (much of it co-signed for by parents). Remember when Obama “nationalized” the student loan debt program? No more local banks would be on the hook for those iffy loans: they could put them on “his” (yours, our children’s) back.
Don’t forget that the current student-loan interest rate of 3.4 percent will jump to 6.87 percent on July 1, 2013—in other words, doubling! It is estimated now that the federal government makes thirty-six cents on every dollar it loans to students. Its estimated earnings for 2012 were $34 billion! Why is the executive branch making money off the citizens it will need to be the future leaders of this country? Instead, our government chooses to saddle an entire generation with a $1 trillion-dollar debt, creating yet another bubble getting ready to burst.
Add cutting Social Security, and the scenario gets worse. (And by the way, Social Security is NOT an entitlement program—we have all paid in over our working lives, making it a return of principal, not a handout.) Now Obama is not only putting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the negotiating table, but his plans call for a reduction in the already paltry monthly stipends that seniors are being forced to try to subsist on. (And don’t forget that many of these upcoming seniors have co-signed those burgeoning student loans as well.) When the cost-of-living allowances are calculated by the government, the price of food and energy (gasoline, natural gas, etc.) are not used to determine how much more everything costs this year. (And do not think anyone in power notices the smaller sizes of all the packaging despite the rising prices!
We are now seeing cities going bankrupt (and taking their municipal bonds with them); how much longer before states go belly up? Stockton, California was recently given the go-ahead by a federal judge for the bankruptcy of the most populous city to proceed. Its largest debt is $900 million, owed to the California Public Employee Retirement System. It has managed to keep current on that debt by not paying other debt holders. Many municipal bond holders are very concerned that the GM debacle will play out again here in the Stockton bankruptcy. By law, bond holders have a first lien at bankruptcy; that is the way the contract for the bonds are written, yet with GM, the bond holders were kicked to the curb and the unions took their place along with the money that was rightfully and legally theirs. The rule of law had been breached.
Speaking of the rule of law, there used to be a need for due process before seizure of private property. Those were the good ol’ days: probable cause for a judge’s signature on search warrants, freedom to travel unmolested, knowing that the federal government did not have the power to “clawback” and take one’s deposits without asking or due process… I could go on and on, but I would rather not.
The steady rise of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) is an even more significant game-changer. The scale of the impact of the BRICS on the global economy is still not fully appreciated. China’s GDP is now about half of that of the U.S. (although in terms of purchasing power parity, it may already exceed that of the U.S.), while the combined GDP of the BRICS is forecast to equal that of the G7 countries by the mid-2020s at the latest. These countries have been trading with each other in their own currencies for several years and do not want to be forced to turn their currency into U.S. dollars prior to transactions. The BRICS have decided to open a global international bank that will rival the IMF and the World Bank. By combining the remarkable resiliency and can-do attitude of emerging markets and the experience of Russia and China, this new currency has a better-than-even chance of making it and an even better chance of pulling off the bank coup they are looking for somewhere down the line.
Don’t be fooled by what you hear in the news: just because the stocks are rising doesn’t mean the economy is recovering. Perhaps the best analysis comes from Marc Faber, one of the pre-imminent forecasters, traders, and analysts of the last two decades. He gives his sage advice in a no-holds-barred way, as he is not here to convince anyone; he is here to speak to those who are already convinced, committed, and have a system in place to take care of themselves and their families when things hit rock bottom again. One subject Faber emphasizes is his disapproval of fiat currency, adding, “President Herbert Hoover felt similarly. Hoover said [unbacked] paper currency helps politicians by making it possible for government to take ‘the savings of the people by manipulation of inflation and deflation. We have gold,’ Hoover said, ‘because we cannot trust government.’”
The bottom line? Be ready to protect yourself and your family, and make sure you have a financial bug-out bag along with the rest of your preps. Only you know what you need, but be sure to be prepared.

U.S. Debt Out of Control, “Gold is Catastrophe Insurance” | Rick Rule

- Recovery in the precious metal sector is coming (1:28).
- U.S. bonds are “return free risk.” Gold, silver, platinum, & palladium are “social catastrophe insurance” (5:23).
- Are platinum & palladium real money? (17:15).
- Are precious metal markets manipulated? (19:36).
- Is a fiat currencies and sovereign debt collapse ahead? (24:42).
RICK RULE has devoted over 35 years to natural resource investing. His involvement in the sector is as broad as it is long; his background includes mineral exploration, oil & gas exploration and production, water, agriculture, and hydro-
electric and geothermal energy. Mr. Rule is a sought-after speaker at industry conferences, and a frequent contributor to numerous media outlets including CNBC, Fox Business News, and BNN. He founded Global Resource Investments in 1993 and is now a Director of Sprott, Inc., a Toronto-based investment manager with over $7 billion in assets under management, and CEO and President of Sprott US Holdings, Inc., where he leads a team of skilled earth science and finance professionals who enjoy a worldwide reputation for resource investing.
SUBSCRIBE (It’s FREE!) to “Finance and Liberty” for more interviews and financial insight ?
Make sure to Subscribe (also FREE!) to our sponsor “Reluctant Preppers” ? MASTERMIND SYMPOSIUM:
Join Elijah Johnson along with 14 of the most influential thought leaders in the world of alternative media at the Liberty Mastermind Symposium in Las Vegas Feb. 21-22, 2014. Register today ?http://LibertyMastermind.usFINANCE AND LIBERTY:
Website ?
Like us on Facebook ?
Follow us on Twitter ?
Google Plus ?
Title and video graphics by Josiah Johnson Studios ?
Our sponsor Reluctant Preppers ? 
DISCLAIMER: The financial and political opinions expressed in this interview are those of the guest and not necessarily of “Finance and Liberty” or its staff. Opinions expressed in this video do not constitute personalized investment advice and should not be relied on for making investment decisions.

Fransen willen zelf beslissen over transgeen

Parijs - De Franse regering wil zelf kunnen beslissen over het al dan niet toelaten van transgene gewassen. Die bevoegdheid ligt momenteel nog bij de Europese Unie, maar Frankrijk wil 'hernationaliseren'.
Fransen willen zelf beslissen over transgeen
Dat heeft minister Stéphane le Foll van landbouw laten weten bij de Landbouwraad in Brussel. Op die raad komt de mogelijke toelating van een tweede transgene maissoort, TC1507, aan de orde. Le Foll heeft net voor het weekend al laten weten dat hij de al eerder toegelaten mais Mon810 hoe dan ook weer van de Franse velden wil weren dit seizon.
Volgens Parijs hoort het toelaten van transgene gewassen niet onder de subsidiariteit, het principe dat bepaalt of een onderwerp tot de bevoegdheid van de EU gerekend moet worden. ''Wij willen nee kunnen zeggen zonder dat dat door Brussel aangevochten kan worden", aldus Le Foll. Hij wil de transgene gewassen daarbij laten evalueren 'op basis van objectieve criteria'. Corr

Washington State house votes to nullify federal hemp ban, 97-0

Activist Post

Today, the Washington State House voted unanimously to approve HB1888, the Hemp Freedom Act. The vote was 97-0.

Sponsored by Representative Matt Shea (R), along with Christopher Hurst (D), Cary Condotta (R), Jeff Holy (R), David Taylor (R) and Jason Overstreet (R), the Hemp Freedom Act would “permit the development in Washington of an industrial hemp industry,” effectively nullifying the de facto federal prohibition on the farming and production of hemp crops within the United States.

Introduced in February 2013, HB1888 was first passed by a House committee nearly a year ago.
Reintroduced by resolution for the short 2014 regular legislative session, it was sent to the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government & Information Technology for additional approval, where it passed 9-0 earlier this month.

Since the enactment of the unconstitutional federal controlled-substances act in 1970, the Drug Enforcement Agency has prevented the production of hemp within the United States. Many hemp supporters feel that the DEA has been used as an “attack dog” of sorts to prevent competition with major industries where American-grown hemp products would create serious market competition: Cotton, Paper/Lumber, Oil, and others.

Experts count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The new “hemp amendment”

…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.

Three states – Colorado, Oregon and Vermont – have already passed similar measures. Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013, effectively nullifying federal restrictions on such agricultural activities.

Industrial hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, durable clothing and nutritional products. During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, which resulted in the famous campaign and government-produced film, Hemp for Victory!

Even though soil, climate and agricultural capabilities could make the United States a massive producer of industrial hemp, today no hemp is grown for public sale, use and consumption within the United States. China is the world’s greatest producer and the United States is the #1 importer of hemp and hemp products in the world.

HB1888 now moves on to the full Washington state senate where it will first be assigned to a committee for consideration before the full senate has an opportunity to send the bill to Gov. Jay Inslee for a signature.


For Washington State Residents: Take action today to help pass HB1888 by clicking HERE.

For All Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to legalize hemp farming by clicking HERE


Marc Faber: "Emerging Markets Can Still Decline, .. Probably Too Late To Buy In The U.S.,"

China Sold Second-Largest Amount Ever Of US Treasurys In December: And Guess Who Comes To The Rescue

While we will have more to say about the disastrous December TIC data shortly, which was released early today, and which showed a dramatic plunge in foreign purchases of US securities in December - the month when the S&P soared to all time highs and when everyone was panicking about the 3% barrier in the 10 Year being breached and resulting in a selloff in Tsy paper - one thing stands out. The chart below shows holdings of Chinese Treasurys (pending revision of course, as the Treasury department is quite fond of ajdusting this data series with annual regularity): in a nutshell, Chinese Treasury holdings plunged by the most in two years, after China offloaded some $48 billion in paper, bringing its total to only $1268.9 billion, down from $1316.7 billion, and back to a level last seen in March 2013! 

This was the second largest dump by China in history with the sole exception of December 2011.

That this happened at a time when Chinese FX reserves soared to all time highs, and when China had gobs of spare cash lying around and not investing in US paper should be quite troubling to anyone who follows the nuanced game theory between the US and its largest external creditor, and the signals China sends to the world when it comes to its confidence in the US.
Yet what was truly surprising is that despite the plunge in Chinese holdings, and Japanese holdings which also dropped by $4 billion in December, is that total foreign holdings of US Treasurys increased in December, from $5716.9 billion to 5794.9 billion.
Why? Because of this country. Guess which one it is without looking at legend.

That's right: at a time when America's two largest foreign creditors, China and Japan, went on a buyers strike, the entity that came to the US rescue was Belgium, which as most know is simply another name for... Europe: the continent that has just a modest amount of its own excess debt to worry about. One wonders what favors were (and are) being exchanged behind the scenes in order to preserve the semblance that "all is well"?

Rejecting mediator’s proposal, New York’s transit agency insists on a wage freeze

Alan Whyte
RINF Alternative News
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has vehemently rejected a non-binding mediators’ recommendation that Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employees receive a wage increase tied to concessions, insisting instead on a three-year wage freeze.
The agency’s intransigence toward the nearly 6,000 workers on the commuter rail line linking Long Island’s suburbs to New York City has much wider significance. It signals not only how the same agency intends to deal with 34,000 bus and subway workers in the New York City Transit Authority, but also how New York City’s newly installed Democratic mayor, Bill de Blasio will confront some 300,000 municipal workers. Both transit and city workers have been working without contracts for years.
The mediators’ recommendation would have hardly represented a victory for LIRR workers. The six-year pact, back-dated to June 2010, included nominal wage hikes of 2.83 percent annually, offset by a first-ever requirement that workers pay a portion of their health benefits amounting to about 2.25 percent of their gross pay beginning in the final year of the proposed contract. The panel rendered its decision based on various considerations such as MTA finances, what other railway workers in the region earn, and the cost of living in the New York area.
The MTA is a quasi-independent public agency that runs two commuter railway lines, the LIRR and Metro-North, which links New York City and its northern suburbs; and two subway systems, the New York City Transit Authority which covers four of the five boroughs in New York City, and the subway system in Staten Island, which is the city’s fifth borough.

Sick girl claims 1Malaysia clinic dispenses expired medicine

Sick girl claims 1Malaysia clinic dispenses expired medicine

IPOH, Feb 19 — A young girl who sought treatment for diarrhoea at a government health clinic here on Monday saw her symptoms dramatically worsen after she was allegedly given medicine past its use-by date.
K. Keerthana, 10, of Taman Pengkalan Jaya, started to vomit after she consumed a dose of diphenoxylate and atropine suplhate together with Panadol and oral rehydration salts.
She was rushed to a private clinic the same day to receive alternative treatment and was given two days' MC.
She and her mother, housewife R. Punithadevi, 35, came to the Perak DAP office yesterday to highlight the issue.
Also present was Buntong assemblyman A. Sivasubramaniam.
According to Punithadevi, her daughter had been suffering from diarrhoea since Thursday and sought treatment at a 1Malaysia Clinic at Pengkalan but showed no improvement.
Keerthana's uncle, K. Sri Ganesh, 20, then took her to the government health clinic at about noon on Monday.
The girl took the medicine when she got home, but “was vomiting after some time”, said Punithadevi.
On checking, it discovered the prescribed medication had expired in October 2013.
“By then, it was late in the evening and we took to her to a private clinic for treatment,” she said.
Sri Ganesh lodged a police report on the same day.
Subramaniam said: “It is negligence on the part of the clinic, which should check its stocks regularly before dispensing the medicine.
“The Health Ministry should also take responsibility for supplying expired medicine to clinics.”
He said he would write a letter to the Perak State Health Department to conduct an investigation.
Department director Datuk Dr Nordiyanah Hassan had asked the family to lodge a complaint so that appropriate action can be taken.

Dr M afraid of 'immoral' Anwar becoming MB

His arch nemesis wants to be the Selangor menteri besar and Dr Mahathir Mohamad admits that the prospect unnerves him.
Speaking to reporters, the former premier said the people would not feel safe if Anwar Ibrahim becomes menteri besar due to the latter's "immoral behaviour".
"As for me, Anwar is not qualified to be MB or PM. He formed a party just to become PM, and not to champion the race, religion or anything else.
"Even when he entered Umno back then, it was to become PM," he added.
Responding to Anwar's remarks during a ceramah last night where the opposition leader questioned why Mahathir was afraid of him becoming MB, he said: "Of course I am afraid (if he becomes MB)... People will not feel safe when he is around. Look what happened to his staff."
It is obvious that Mahathir was referring to Anwar's former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who accused the opposition leader of sodomising him.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court had acquitted Anwar in 2012 of the sodomy charge and this now being appealed by the prosecution.
Like his first sodomy charge, Anwar claimed that the second was also fabricated as part of a political conspiracy against him, an allegation which his rivals have denied.
Mahathir had sacked Anwar, who was then considered his heir-apparent, in 1998, claiming that he was morally unfit to be deputy prime minister.
Anwar, who is now the parliamentary opposition leader, is poised to contest in the March 23 by-election for the Kajang state seat.
Should he retain the PKR seat, the 66-year-old politician is expected to replace Khalid Ibrahim as menteri besar.
'BN must field a candidate'
Mahathir also stressed that BN must field a candidate in the polls against Anwar.
"BN should contest. Whether it is Umno, MCA, MIC or Gerakan, a BN representative must contest," he stressed.
He also welcomed the presence of independent candidates such as former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim and dangdut singer Herman Tino who Mahathir said was "qualified" to contest in the spirit of democracy.
"The former minister and people like Herman Tino are all qualified to contest if you follow our system. They might lose their deposit but it's okay," he said.

5 Signs America’s Super-Rich Are Going Off the Deep End

Inequality seems to have made the wealthy very upset…for themselves.

Is it us, or have America’s ultrawealthy been sounding increasingly unhinged lately? Despite the fact that the wealth of the 1 percent jumped 31 percent from 2009 to 2012 while the other 99 percent of America saw a gain of only 0.4 percent, the rich are very upset, and they need to tell us about it. Maybe it’s all the talk about income inequality that’s gotten them so stirred up. Whatever it is, here are five signs that the zillionaires seem to be losing it.
1. The rich are mouthing off in epic rants.
They’re going on talk shows, writing editorials, bitching and moaning, and taking every opportunity to tell us just how fed up they are.
Wealthy upper-eastsiders in New York arescreaming that progressive Mayor de Blasio is punishing them by not plowing their streets of snow. Billionaire Home Depot founder Ken Langone warned Pope Francis that if he doesn’t shut it about income inequality, the charitable contribution spigot will be turned off. Nutcase venture capitalist Thomas Perkins just claimed that there is a war on the rich comparable to the Holocaust and that the wealthy deserve more votes. Bill O’Reilly warned, ”Every affluent person in America is in danger. Every one.” He asks you to pray for them.

Another Fine Mess: Consumer Debt To Income Keeps Falling, But So Does Household Income

The Federal Reserve pinned it’s economic recovery hopes on a simple premise: credit growth leads to rising real GDP by increasing consumption.
The problem is … bank credit growth has slowed to just over 1% (YoY) and the consumer debt to disposable income keeps dropping like a rock.
Here is a chart of Household Debt Service Payments as a Percent of Disposable Personal Income. It keeps dropping and is already below the lowest level since 1980.
Bank credit growth remains at a level below any data prior to 2009. And below levels from 1980.
Historically, bank credit growth is typically higher than real GDP growth, except for a few occasions. Like now.
And if I compare YoY bank credit growth to real median household income (green line), we see the reason for stalled credit growth. Declining then stagnant household income.
Now, let’s chart household debt service as a percentage of disposable income against real median household income. I think I see a pattern.
Now let’s chart mortgage credit growth YoY against the U.S. homeownership rate. Government housing policy encouraged lowering of credit requirements and a surge in mortgage lending.
In fact, government “affordable” housing policies (led by President Clinton and HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo and HUD Assistant Secretary Susan Wachter) led to house prices more than doubling … before foundering.
Government responded to the credit crisis by passing massive financial market legislation like the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act . Which begat the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Great. Congress and the Administration ignored the collapsing household income (which makes borrowing more difficult) and then layered phone books of new laws regulating lending.
Notice that both Barney Frank (D-MA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) fled Congress after they passed their Magnus Dopus. But we still have Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) whooping it up along with Richard “Robocop” Cordray.
The Federal Reserve’s massive quantitative easing program has done nothing for the middle class household.
And “the thrill is gone” for bank credit growth with the advent of QE3.
But at least stock market investors are thrilled with massive Fed intervention, particularly with QE3.
Now you know why M2 Money Velocity is so bad. Declining/stagnant real median household income.
Another fine mess Federal housing policy and The Fed has made.
And here is the theme song for HUD and the Federal Reserve.

Doctors protest as Greek Health Minister closes down Primary Health Care units for one month

Primary health care doctors, administrative personnel and patients ‘occupied’ several EOPYY units on Monday morning to protest the unprecedented: the closure of primary health care provider 380 units for at least one month.

The protesters hindered the handing over of the health facilities to representatives of the health ministry.

Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis warned the protesters that any damage in the facilities will be paid by the protesters’ own pockets.
Health Minister: doctors’ protest have been initiated by SYRIZA
Deputy Healh Minister: only 10% of the insured seek the facilities of EOPYY
The Health Minister had decided to close down the units of Primary Health Care (EOPYY) as of Monday and for at least one month until the new health care provider (PEDY) opens.
More than 8,500 doctors and EOPYY personnel will be sent home with 75% of the salary, will undergo evaluation of their work and will be assigned to new work places eventually several hundred kilometers away from their old work places.
The Health Ministry demands that EOPYY doctors close down their private offices, await for the new posting and resign from the public health care if they disagree with their new appointment. That is doctors will have eventually close and reopen their private businesses within a couple of weeks.
The latest Greek health care reform threatens to make patients’ access to primary health care more difficult as many facilities will close down. Especially in the country side and on islands, patients are at risk to have to cover long distance in order to get the obvious in a country that claims to belong to Europe.
Furthermore, the health ministry applied a prescription cap to doctors, a cap which is 20% less than that of 2013. In real Greek life, this means: doctors have more patients but are allowed to prescribe less medicine.
Health Ministry announced on Monday that:
patients will have to turn to public hospitals or private doctors assigned with EOPYY and get treatment and prescription medicine free of extra charge.
While the overhaul – the second since Greece flew into the IMF – of the public health care is taking place, the troubled Greek patient is seeking ways to have his medicine prescribed or find a doctor who will not charge him for services he used to get for free. “Free ” in the sense he had paid for them through the obligatory social contributions.
Since the IMF-imposed austerity and the increasing “decrease” of health care service provisions to insured patients, especially the chronic ill  saw their monthly health expenses skyrocket. My mom, for example, needs to pay 80 euro per month. for medicine and prescription. Before September 2012, her monthly cost was just ,  8 euro. By a monthly pension of 460 euro net, guess who comes up for these expenses….
More on the “Greek health reform” that will leave patients without easy access to primary health care read here.
More protests pictures here and here.
PS we should not complain. Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel could cut all together the health care provisions….

If You Have Been Waiting For The “Global Economic Crisis” To Begin, Just Open Up Your Eyes And Look Around

Soros doubles a bearish bet on the S&P 500, to the tune of $1.3 billion
Soros Fund Management has doubled up a bet that the S&P 500SPX  is headed for a fall.
Within Friday’s 13F filings news was the revelation that the firm, founded by legendary investor George Soros, increased a put position on the S&P 500 ETF   SPY -0.04% by a whopping 154% in the fourth quarter, compared with the third. (A put or short position basically gives the owner the right to sell a security at a set price for a limited time, and in making such a bet, an investor generally believes the security is going to decline.)
The value of that holding, the biggest position in the fund, has risen to $1.3 billion from around $470 million. It now makes up a 11.13% chunk of all reported holdings. It had been cut to 5.14% in the third quarter, from 13.54% in the second quarter, which itself marked another dramatic lift on the bearish call.  The numbers can be found at, which makes them slightly easier to digest than the actual SEC filing.
Japanese GDP and Exports Seriously Underperform Expectations
The huge string of unexpectedly sour economic data continues to pour in. Add Japan to the spotlight. The BBC reports Japan’s Quarterly Growth Disappoints Ahead of Sales Tax Hike.
ART CASHIN: Central Banks Have Built Up ‘A Very, Very Dangerous Situation’
In a new interview with King World News, Cashin warns that financial market conditions remain very risky. From the interview:
What I am saying is:  They thought they were going to solve a desperate problem by desperate measures.  I don’t believe it’s having the effect they wanted, and it’s building up a very, very dangerous situation.  If that money were suddenly to get velocity, inflation could break out.
Conversely, by pushing on a string and not getting anything done, they may wind up being in a spot where, if the economy moves to stall-speed, we’ll get deflationary pressure.  Yes, they’ve begun treating the patient with very, very drastic remedies, and my concern is:  Is it ultimately damaging the body in a way that will bring back some of the horrors they tried to avoid?
The following are 20 signs that the global economic crisis is starting to catch fire…
#1 The unemployment rate in Greece has hit a brand new record high of 28 percent.
#2 The youth unemployment rate in Greece has hit a brand new record high of 64.1 percent.
#3 The percentage of bad loans in Italy is at an all-time record high.
#4 Italian industrial output declined again in December, and the Italian government is on the verge of collapse.
#5 The number of jobseekers in France has risen for 30 of the last 32 months, and at this point it has climbed to a new all-time record high.
#6 The total number of business failures in France in 2013 was even higher than in any year during the last financial crisis.
#7 It is being projected that housing prices in Spain will fall another 10 to 15 percent as their economic depression deepens.
#8 The economic and political turmoil in Turkey is spinning out of control.  The government has resorted to blasting protesters with pepper spray and water cannons in a desperate attempt to restore order.
#9 It is being estimated that the inflation rate in Argentina is now over 40 percent, and the peso is absolutely collapsing.
#10 Gangs of armed bandits are roaming the streets in Venezuela as the economic chaos in that troubled nation continues to escalate.
#11 China appears to be very serious about deleveraging.  The deflationary effects of this are going to be felt all over the planet. The following is an excerpt from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s recent article entitled “World asleep as China tightens deflationary vice“…
China’s Xi Jinping has cast the die. After weighing up the unappetising choice before him for a year, he has picked the lesser of two poisons.
The balance of evidence is that most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong aims to prick China’s $24 trillion credit bubble early in his 10-year term, rather than putting off the day of reckoning for yet another cycle.
This may be well-advised for China, but the rest of the world seems remarkably nonchalant over the implications.
#12 There was a significant debt default by a coal company in China last Friday
A high-yield investment product backed by a loan to a debt-ridden coal company failed to repay investors when it matured last Friday, state media reported on Wednesday, in the latest sign of financial stress in China’s shadow bank sector.
#13 Japan’s Nikkei stock index has already fallen by 14 percent so far in 2014.  That is a massive decline in just a month and a half.
#14 Ukraine continues to fall apart financially
The worsening political and economic circumstances in Ukraine has prompted the Fitch Ratings agency to downgrade Ukrainian debt from B to a pre–default level CCC. This is lower than Greece, and Fitch warns of future financial instability.
#15 The unemployment rate in Australia has risen to the highest level in more than 10 years.
#16 The central bank of India is in a panic over the way that Federal Reserve tapering is effecting their financial system.
#17 The effects of Federal Reserve tapering are also being felt in Thailand
In the wake of the US Federal Reserve tapering, emerging economies with deteriorating macroeconomic figures or visible political instability are being punished by skittish markets. Thailand is drifting towards both these tendencies.
#18 One of Ghana’s most prominent economists says that the economy of Ghana will crash by June if something dramatic is not done.
#19 Yet another banker has mysteriously died during the prime years of his life.  That makes five ”suspicious banker deaths” in just the past two weeks alone.
#20 The behavior of the U.S. stock market continues to parallel the behavior of the U.S. stock market in 1929.
Yes, things don’t look good right now, but it is important to keep in mind that this is just the beginning.
This is just the leading edge of the next great financial storm.
The next two years (2014 and 2015) are going to represent a major “turning point” for the global economy.  By the end of 2015, things are going to look far different than they do today.
None of the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed.  Global debt levels have grown by 30 percent since the last financial crisis, and the too big to fail banks in the United States are 37 percent larger than they were back then and their behavior has become even more reckless than before.
As a result, we are going to get to go through another “2008-style crisis”, but I believe that this next wave is going to be even worse than the previous one.
Why The Next Financial Crisis Could Be Worse Than 2008
Last year the Federal Reserve celebrated its 100th birthday. Only two days before Christmas in 1913, deep into the night when many legislators had already left for the holidays, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, creating a “non-governmental” central bank – a bankers bank if you will – and charged it with the responsibility of controlling the nations monetary system. In all those years, the Fed has never engaged in a monetary explosion like it is today. We are truly in uncharted territory. In this article we’ll discuss the real reason behind the Feds easy money policy and how its could create an economic disaster, even more severe than 2008. First, some background on the Fed.
U.S. Monetary System: The Changing Of The Guard
The Fed was created on December 23, 1913, largely as a result of the Bank Panic of 1907. When Congress amended the Federal Reserve Act in 1977, it created what has come to be known as the Feds dual-mandate. Basically, the Fed is responsible for full employment and stable prices. The tools of the Fed include: adjusting short-term interest rates; regulating the money supply; establishing bank reserve requirements; and a few less-utilized tools. The current “Chair” of the Federal Reserve is Janet Yellen. Note: “Chairman” has been changed to “Chair” due to the first woman appointed to this position. The Fed Chair is appointed by the President to serve a four-year term. Next , we’ll discuss how a specific piece of legislation which emerged during the Great Depression, could have saved us in 2008.
Bank’s Risk Redemption: The Glass-Steagall Act
Jim Rogers Tells Us What Everyone Keeps Getting Wrong About China
How healthy is the real estate market today?
The Subprime Majority.   Recently, I came across a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) titled Assets and Opportunity Scorecard.  Some of their findings are quite interesting.  According to the CFED Scorecard, 56% of all consumers have sub-prime credit.  Sub-prime is “earned”. A consumer has to miss a few payments, or default on a loan or two to earn that status.  These 56% cannot, or should not, be taking on more debt, especially a large debt like a mortgage.  They may also be struggling with a mortgage that they should not have taken out in the first place.
Liquid Asset Poor.  CFED found that 44% of households in America are Liquid Asset Poor, defined as having saved less than three months of expenses.  As one would expect, 78% of the lowest income households are asset poor, but 25% of middle class ($56k to $91k) households also have less than three months of expenses saved.  Pertaining to real estate, the report suggests that there are little savings to buy and a small cushion for changes, such as job loss.
Income Inequality.  The Center for Household Financial Stability of the St. Louis Fed recently released a study titled Inequality, the Great Recession, and Slow Recovery.  Skip the 43 pages of academic mumbo jumbo and you will find half a dozen of very simple and informative charts, such as the two below.   I will leave the inequality debate to others.  With regard to a real estate stress test, it appears that households are not exactly well prepared to weather even minor economic setbacks.