Archive for the Russia Category

The Percolating Middle East (February 22, 2016)

Posted in China, Dollar - World's Reserve Currency, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Russia, Syria on February 22, 2016 by e-commentary.org

. . .

8          “On one side you have Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the soldiers from the Sunni region of Iraq with some of its members d.b.a. (doing business as) ISIS or ISIL or IS.  They are the ‘Sunni Squad’.”

7          “Yet Saudi Arabia and Turkey really do not like each other.”  

8          “They just hate each other slightly less.  On the other side, you have Syria, Iran, Russia and the Kurds in the region who hate Turkey.  They are loosely the ‘Shiite Squad’.”

. . .

7          “Turkey has cited Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and demanded that an attack on one member is an attack on all members.  Thus, Turkey contends that NATO nations must come to its assistance.  Right.”

8          “And thus join the ‘Sunni Squad’ and assist ISIS or ISIL or IS.”

7          “Challenge Saudi Arabia and lose its support for the PetroDollar.  Without the PetroDollar, the United States slides into second world status.”

8          “Or join the Russian gang and ally with the ‘Shiite Squad’ which is likely to be the winner if there is a winner.”

. . .

8          “Now which squad is China supporting?”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at Seriously Sizing Up Syria Seizing Up (October 12, 2015).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy?

Litigation:  “Recreational”, “Sport” And  “Diversionary” . . . And The “Department Of Just-Us” (December 21, 2015)

Posted in Banks and Banking System, Courts, Department of, Federal Reserve, Russia, Sports, Wall Street on December 21, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “The definition varies yet ‘Recreational Litigation’ is usually defined as an unfounded claim or defense advanced by someone with unlimited funds who uses bullying techniques to harass and often bankrupt a small and often defenseless person or entity for grins.”

J          “Or for some ulterior purpose.  I call it ‘Sport Litigation’ because it is so unsporting.  The ‘Department of Just-Us’ is the richest and most powerful player in the American Legal Game.”

K          “FIFA is corrupt to the core.  So is Wall Street.  The United States has no business investigating and prosecuting FIFA corruption.  The United States does have legitimate business investigating and prosecuting Wall Street corruption.”

J          “‘Sport Litigation’ is the felicitous term.”

K          “I may be wrong, yet I have this nagging suspicion that the government may be trying to pressure FIFA not to allow Russia to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”

J          “Prostituting the Beautiful Game.  Ugly.”

. . .

K          “The ‘Department of Just-Us’ as you call it long ago served notice that the banksters are above and beyond the law.  The FIFA case may be a way for the ‘Department of Just-Us’ to serve notice that anyone who gets out of line will get it.  And also to distract us from the real problems and the real danger.”

J          “The ‘Department of Offense’ is engaged in endless wars and fear generation to distract us from the inevitable consequences of the actions and inactions of their friends and comrades at the ‘Department of Treasure’ and the Federal Reserve.”    

K          “What about describing it as ‘Diversionary Litigation’ designed to make the public believe that evil foreigners are being prosecuted while actually diverting attention from the real problems and the real danger.”

. . .  

[See the e-commentary at Schooling The Apparatchiks For The Kleptocrats (December 7, 2015).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”  H. L. Mencken

May the farce be with you.

Savor the solstice; Nature still sustains.

Seriously Sizing Up Syria Seizing Up (October 12, 2015)

Posted in Afghanistan, Bush, Climate, Dollar - World's Reserve Currency, Foreign Policy, Global Climate Change, Global Warming, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Newspapers, Russia, Sports, Syria, Vietnam, War on October 12, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

7          “They could make it easier if they wore jerseys with numbers.”

8          “The good folks could sport odd numbers and the bad folks could sport even numbers on their uniforms.”

7          “Or the good folks could use even numbers and the bad folks could use odd numbers.  Or use different defining colors.  Or stitch the sponsor of the team on the back of the jersey.”

8          “During the Southeast Asian War Games conducted in ‘nam, a ‘Stars and Stripes’ newspaper cartoon depicted two identical individuals in pajamas and flip flops – one described as ‘Friend’ and one described as ‘Enemy’.”

7          “Nothing changes.  Discerning one’s friends and one’s enemies among those wearing towels and sandals is vexing.”

8          “The great feud between the Shia and the Sunni seems akin to the great feud between the Hatfields and McCoys.  No one was right and no one really knew what they were fighting for and no one really knew why they were fighting.”

7          “The reality is that the enemy of my enemy is not my friend, the enemy of my enemy is my enemy.”

. . .

7          “Most folks are more comfortable with what the nerdy folks describe as a ‘Manichean’ division into good and bad, or right and wrong, or us and them.  International relations are described as a balance of power and depicted with a scale.  A pint of water on one side can be balanced with a pound of whatever on the other side.  Yet international relations are more akin to multiple Calder mobiles strung and hung together.  Tug on one string and everything tips out of balance.  The unprovoked invasion of Iraq by then President Cheney and Vice President Bush in 2003 was the great tug that triggered the imbalance accelerating today.”

8          “Toss a rock in the pond and watch the concentric circles and the eccentric responses.  The lack of water in Syria and other places is fueling the fury.  A drought of water leads to a drought of hope.  The world is transitioning from wars over oil to wars over water.”

7          “And wars over currency.  Everything is out of balance.”

8          “Seems that global climate change is bringing about global change.”

. . .

8          “For the U.S., ‘Iraq’ is Arabic for ‘Vietnam’.  For Russia, ‘Syria’ may be Arabic for ‘Afghanistan’.”

7          “‘Waterloo’ is French for ‘Waterloo’.”

8          “Or Esperanto for ‘quagmire’.”

. . .

7          “We make decisions with limited information.  Look at who is for and who is against going to war.  Former General Wesley Clark suggests that the United States seeks to take out Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.  The Neo-conservatives in America want the United States to be mired in constant war everywhere on the planet all the time.  They keep getting us in trouble.”

8          “The bad folks.  Do they have even or odd numbers?  What color are their uniforms?”

. . .

7          “Much of the fighting is a prolonged currency war between the United States and many other countries.  The United States is slowly losing the franchise on the world’s reserve currency.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at World’s Reserve Currency War I = Cold War 2.0 = WW III (?) (September 8, 2014) and Le Dollar – World’s Reserve Currency? (November 28, 2011).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Are they doing the watusi when they should be doing the hokey pokey?

“Grexit”, “GrexEUnt”, Percolating Problems: PIIGS, BRICS, EU, EC, ECB, IMF, NATO, WTO, WAR (February 23, 2015)

Posted in Banks and Banking System, China, Greece, International Finance, Iran, Russia, Sports on February 23, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

1          “‘GrExit’ admixes ‘Greek’ with ‘exit’ and may be the ‘Portmanteau Word of the Year for 2015’.”

2          “Or 2016?  Who knows.  They are punting and kicking.”

1          “What about ‘GrexEUnt’ for the ‘Greece’ ‘exeunt’ from the ‘EU’ because the dancing is so dramatic?  Devastating to stay, devastating to go.  So we Do-si-do and around we go.”

. . .

1          “Two prize fighters are circling each other warily, a flyweight versus a heavyweight.  In one corner, Greece cannot under any circumstances pay the massive debt to Germany (now d.b.a. IMF, ECB and EC) amassed by the Greek oligarchs.  In the other corner, Germany cannot under any circumstances allow Greece not to pay the massive debt it claims is owed to Germany.  In the stands, Greek citizens who now realize that the banks got bailed out but the citizens were abandoned and will suffer under any scenario.  On the sidelines, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Spain (PIIGS) and other sovereign colonies await the outcome and their turn in the ring.  An unstoppable force meets an immovable object.”

2          “The Parthenon painted in black, red and gold does not seem striking.”

1          “The Pantheon bedecked in black, red and gold could trigger some strikes.”

2          “Another great battle between the ‘Versailles Reparations’ paradigm and the ‘Marshall Plan’ paradigm.”

1          “The central Lesson of the Twentieth Century is that it is easier to take by investment than by invasion.  The central Corollary of the Twenty-First Century is that you cannot take too much by investment or you risk an invasion.”

2          “The German group should not have foisted all the funds on the Greek oligarchs; the Greek oligarchs should not have gotten all the lucre from the German group.  Seems that they are each about fifty percent culpable.  Split the difference?”

. . .

1          “Markets usually price in inevitable developments and go on with life and business.  Which side has the market priced to prevail and how will the outcome play out on the planet?”

2          “What if Greece remains in NATO, pivots to Russia for assistance and opposes sanctions against Russia from the inside?  The BRICS Confederacy will need to fashion a new acronym.”

1          “The astute Western players might keep Greece cum a new drachma in the European Union for trade and transportation purposes and for international security concerns.”

2          “O’Bama traveled to India to keep India from allying more closely with the BRICS.”

1          “Senator Bernie Sanders wants the Federal Reserve to ride to the rescue.  He understands the Corollary.  However, expanding the Federal Reserve to become the American Monetary Fund (AMF) may not be wise or prudent.”

. . .

2          “The Europeans are fighting their civil war with each other and were drafted to serve as proxies and mercenaries to fight America’s currency war with Russia.  The French cannot sell fromage, the Pols cannot sell apples, and even the Germans cannot sell brats.  And no one can buy inexpensive gas from Russia.  And America does what America does.  America sits back far from the front and consumes.”

1          “And secretly funds some folks.  The Europeans are fighting America’s war with Russia and not making their required NATO defense expenditures.  The Germans and others could write off some of the debts and then book the amounts against their required NATO defense expenditures.  America is committed to fighting the Russians until the last European collapses.”

2          “America may not be able to sit back.  Under settled international law, America’s cyberespionage against Russia, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran are each acts of war that provide justification for those countries to attack America.  America’s antics may trigger an unattractive response.  Not a pretty situation.”

1          “But remember that America has proclaimed that it can always unilaterally exempt itself from international law.”

. . .

2          “The punting and kicking the can now is measured in time not in distance.  With the four month reprieve until June 21, the new ‘high noon’ show down occurs on the longest day of the year.”

. . .

2          “Greece is a failed state with few clear public records describing private property ownership, a tax collection non-system and a distended pension system.  Without a functioning country or economy in Greece, the prospect of a functioning country or economy in Greece is not promising.  Stay tuned.  Film at 11.”

1          “During the sports segment, surely.”

. . .

[See the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/technology/spyware-embedded-by-us-in-foreign-networks-security-firm-says.html? rref=homepage&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Home%20Page&pgtype=article.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

You can provide liquidity but you cannot provide solvency

Can God create a stone so heavy that not even God is strong enough to lift it?  Can man create a debt so heavy that not even mankind is strong enough to lift it?

Marital Musings (December 22, 2014)

Posted in Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Constitution, Courts, Economics, Gold Standard, Kleptocracy, Movie Reference, Radio, Russia, Silver Standard, Society, Sports, Supreme Court on December 28, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

H1        “So she said we had to set aside some time for a conversation.  I knew it would get bad.”

H2        “You don’t get to say anything.”

H1        “Except when spoken to.  So she said she had to confess that she was thinking about someone else while we were in medias res.  And she said that she was now happy to have gotten if off her chest.  I said that was fine.  She could be thinking about Mr. Magoo if it will get us through the night.  From my perspective, if I can handle the kitchen remodel, junior can get braces.  But it ended up not being fine.  I should have been upset.  She was upset that I was not upset.  I was beginning to get sort of upset that she was upset that I was not upset.”

H2        “Nothing about Gina Lollobrigida.”

H1        “She would have exercised the proviso ‘til death do us part’ and parted with me.”

. . .

H2        “She asked if I noticed that she had put on weight.  I had not noticed, so I told her that I had not noticed.  I am thinking that I get 100 points for candor and honesty and being a great guy and for being a little oblivious.  Maybe an MVP award and a hall pass.”

H1        “And she was upset that you were not upset.  And it was Katie bar the door with Katie showing you the door.”

H2        “I didn’t get a pass.  I told her that once she made the cut and was on the team, things like that did not really matter.”

H1        “And she parsed every phrase.”

H2        “‘Made the cut’ and ‘on the team’ are two separate concepts.  Saying that it is like two wrestlers who make weight and then each go off and have bacon cheeseburgers did not assuage her anxiety.”

. . .

H1        “We conversed with a counselor who opined about psychological affairs versus physical affairs and provided few insights to address our financial affairs.”

H2        “Do you think he was safe?”

H1        “She is sure that we only talk about sex.”

H2        “Safe by a mile.  Replay is clear.”

. . .

[See the latest sophistry from the Supreme Court that vitiates the Fourth Amendment.  http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-604_ec8f.pdf.  An illegal stop is an illegal stop and not a legal stop.]

[See the commentary at “Henrietta And Henry O, Two Young Lovers: The Contemporary Gift Of The Magi (December 27, 2010).”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

“Honey, would you rather I were making love to him using your name, or making love to you using his name?”  Annie Savoy, Bull Durham (1988)

Russian Exceptionalism > or = or < American Nationalism

The COMEX is instituting trading collars for the sale of gold and silver.  And the answer to Will Shortz’ “Sunday Puzzle” seeking the correct anagram for “Comex” is . . . “Fraud.”

Gas / Au / Ag / Cu: The Great Commodity / Currency Wars: What’s Up? What’s Down? What’s Really Up? What’s Going Down? (November 17, 2014)

Posted in "Fiat ______", Carbon Surcharge & Dividend, China, Debt/Deficits, Dollar - World's Reserve Currency, Football, Foreign Policy, Gold Standard, Middle East, Money, Peak Oil, Russia, Silver Standard on November 17, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

E1          “Today’s high-tech town criers, LED scoreboards broadcast the news from every street and street corner.  They proclaim that gas prices are down, gas prices are down, gas prices are down.  The most public and publicized scores in our economy are even more prominent than football scores.”

E2          “Is supply up because Saudi Arabia has strategically increased the supply?  Is demand down because the world is in recession?  What’s really up?  What’s really going down?”

E1          “What’s real?  The great trifecta is at play.  Saudi Arabia is advancing American political interests by undercutting Russian oil sales while also underpricing American fracking operators and undermining Iranian producers.  Prices now below about $80 a barrel undermine American competitors who are fracking the production of oil at a cost of typically $85 a barrel.  An American operator who cannot compete and goes down will not later reenter the market.  Saudi Arabia can effortlessly constrict supply and drive up the price.”

E2          “The Republicans will provide tax benefits and government subsidies for the frackers and increase the national debt.”

E1          “That’s for real.  If Russia and Russians can endure the very real impact of the sanctions and continue to circumvent the use of the dollar, they may end up prevailing in the ‘Cold Currency War.’  The public scoreboards provide daily clues to developments on the international battlefield.”

. . .

E2          “Now when the price of oil is down is the time to adopt a carbon premium and dividend program.”

E1          “Never happen.”

E2          “Nothing will happen until it is too late.”

E1          “Not when gas mongering SUVs are flying off the shelves.”

. . .

E2          “The PM markets for elements 79 and 47 are distorted.  Now that the physical quantities of Au and Ag are so tiny in comparison to the exploding paper market, the spot price is another illusion.  Sellers of physical quantities are setting prices that exceed the former ‘spot price plus markup’ formula to reflect the limited physical supply.  However, no generally accepted ‘physical spot price’ has emerged.  In a world of fraud, illusion and dishonesty, the ‘market price’ is not the ‘market price’ and another ‘market price’ must be concocted to provide realistic information.”

E1          “The market is unreal.  However, it is hard to fix the metals market when the metals market is fixed.  Information is sketchy, incomplete and possibly inaccurate.  China, Russia, India, Brazil and other governments and the Chinese, Russians, Indians, Brazilians and other citizens are amassing massive amounts of physical gold.  Manipulating the acquisition price of physical gold lower via machinations in the paper market facilitates the transfer of physical gold to folks who are not always happy with us.”

E2          “That may be the most counter-productive policy in recent memory.  Some countries are rallying around gold to provide a counterpoise to the dollar.”

E1          “That is surreal.”

. . .

E2          “Morgans were minted from 1878 to 1904.  Peace dollars from 1921 to 1935.  Even among those who are not interested in the numismatic value of a coin, the premium for George T. Morgan’s creation is more than the premium for Peace dollars.”

E1          “A hint of aesthetic sensibility among the junk metal set.  Morgans may have been minted again in 1921.”

E2          “One fellow said that he maintains 70 percent of his precious metals inventory in silver to serve as a medium of exchange and 30 percent in gold to serve as a store of value and secondary medium of exchange.  However, the dollar is still the unit of account.  Wonder what he knows.”

E1          “Metals perforce do not pay interest, yet when banks start charging interest to hold funds, metals become the non-interest burdened asset.  What percentage of his assets are in metals?  And why?”

. . .

E1          “The ISIS or ISIL or Islamic State or whatever is proposing to issue their own currency by minting real gold dinars and real silver dirhams.”

E2          “The IS is also in the business of selling oil on the black market at reduced prices which lowers the world price.  Another factor in the analysis.”

E1          “And the scoreboard up ahead proclaims: ‘Unleaded – 3 dinars and 99 dirhams per liter; Diesel – 4 dinars and 49 dirhams per liter.  Free oil check and window washing.’”

E2          “A mecca for the gold bugs.”

E1          “‘27 inch flat screens from China for 99 dinars.’”

E2          “If gold is denominated in dollars, the dollar is king.  If gold is denominated in gold, then gold is king.”

E1          “Aren’t they obligated to field a football team first?”

. . .

E1          “If I couldn’t make light of it, it would get too heavy.”

. . .

[See the related e-commentary earlier this year at “Texas Votes To Secede From U.S. And Join Mexico; Russia Blows Up World In Response (March 17, 2014)“, “NATO: Nations Aggressively Taking Over (March 31, 2014)“, “Distrust But Verify (July 21, 2014)” and “World’s Reserve Currency War I = Cold War 2.0 = WW III (?) (September 8, 2014).”  See also the background e-commentary at “The Silver Standard: The Value Of (Sort Of) Real Money (July 15, 2013)“, ““Fiat Gold” / Fool’s Gold (May 2, 2011)” and “Is The Gold Standard Really The Gold Standard? (January 18, 2010).”

Bumper stickers of the week:

He who has the dollars has made the rules; he who has the gold will make the rules.

Folks (and governments) will use Fe and Pb to acquire and protect Au and Ag.

We seek stasis, we get entropy.

World’s Reserve Currency War I = Cold War 2.0 = WW III (?) (September 8, 2014)

Posted in China, Dollar - World's Reserve Currency, Energy, Fracking, Global Climate Change, Global Warming, Market Solutions, Peak Oil, Russia on September 8, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

7          “Someday someone will realize that the attacks on Saddam Hussein in Iraq and on Muammar Gaddafi in Libya were motivated in part by their efforts to undertake oil sales in something other than American dollars.  If the American dollar is no longer the world’s petro dollar and reserve currency, America will not be able to dictate and drive world economic affairs.  America wants Europe to be dependent on America and American gas and on the American dollar, not on Russia and Russian gas and on some financial measure and medium other than the American dollar.  And along comes Putin who is peddling oil and gas using something other than the American dollar.”

8          “That makes Putin ‘Public Enemy No. 1.’  So the U.S. is imposing economic sanctions on the Russians which are also economic sanctions on the Europeans and others.  The only way for the U.S. to compel continued use of the petro dollar is to be the empire providing, controlling and protecting the petro supply.  Now the U.S. is trying to provide rather than just control and protect the supply.  For decades, the U.S. imported oil and gas from countries that disregarded environmental standards and now the U.S. is disregarding environmental standards and seeking to export gas produced using fluids and processes that are destructive to the land and water here in the good old U.S. of A.  What are we doing?”

7          “America is on the retrograde in overdrive.  Until recently, America ‘imported’ oil and ‘exported’ the pollution necessary to produce it.  Now America seeks to ‘export’ gas and ‘import’ the pollution and degradation necessary to produce it.  Pollution and degradation are externalities that are not paid by the oil and gas companies.  If the oil and gas companies internalized the costs of the pollution and degradation, they could pass the costs on to the consumer and allow the consumer to decide how much oil and gas should be produced.”

8          “And look at those we call our allies.  Among other countries, Britain, France, Poland and Bulgaria are refusing to embrace fracking and the resulting environmental damage.  U.S. interests are interested in obtaining access to the gas reserves in the Ukraine and using fracking techniques to extract the gas.  The lawyers and the lobbyists have been deployed.  The sons of the Ruling Class like Kerry-Heinz and Biden are positioned and poised to make a killing.”

7          “Only after many others get killed.  America cannot secure and dictate the distribution of the gas to Europe and others as quickly as Russia and Europe will be required to respond to the economic sanctions.  Russia and Russians are much more resilient and resourceful than America and Americans.  The Russians won World War II for the West.  Starting World War III with them is not likely to end well.  The Russians will develop workarounds to circumvent the economic sanctions and may dislodge the almighty dollar from the world stage.”

8          “The Europeans also need to learn to accommodate, but they could balk this winter at freezing to fuel the U.S. dollar.”

7          “They could sew American dollars together to make a shawl.  Americans devised ‘Hoover blankets’ from newspapers and Europeans could craft ‘Benjamin blankets’ from American bucks.  No one will strenuously dispute that it is or soon will be ‘Cold War 2.0’.”

8          “The Chinese may break the tie.  China and Russia and other countries could work together to circumvent the sanctions and develop a competing and competitive international economy devoid of the dollar.  Russia could provide China with access to the Arctic and allow them to proceed in the South China Sea.”

7          “Then America would boycott all Chinese goods.  See how they like that.”

8          “A friend is convinced that all the gold in Ft. Knox and all of Germany’s gold in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was transferred to the Chinese to stave off a sale of Treasury bonds.  They may be prepared.  The economic sanctions are seen as exercises of ‘soft power,’ yet they may expose how soft the American economy really is today.”

7          “That is why so many powerful interests are lobbying so aggressively for the U.S. to use ‘hard power.’  Wars are big business; wars are good for business.  Look at all the misinformation involving the attack on the aircraft flying on flight MH17 that is bandied about to justify military action.  False Flag capers are the easiest way to get the populace to rally ‘round the flag.”

8          “Here there be dragons.”

. . .

8          “Here there be no angels.  The Russian oligarchs who control the gas fields are as corrupt as the U.S. bankers who control oil and gas prices.  Look at the shenanigans and manipulations during the summer of 2008.  No one does anything.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Strategy: Cut off your face to spit your face

Dollar slaves; Dollar serfs