Posted at 9:24 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Why U.S. Economic ‘Statistics’ Get More and More Absurd – Jeff Nielson – Sprott Money News
March 26, 2015

Many recent commentaries have noted a distinct devolution in the numerical lies which the U.S. government calls its “economic statistics”. Numbers which used to be mere exaggerations (i.e. used to somewhat mirror the real world) have now become literally perverse: opposite to reality.

As U.S. “retail sales” collapsed at the end of last year (and now into this year) with a string of negative numbers; we’re told that somehow U.S. “consumer spending” surged by 4.3% in the fourth quarter of 2014, something which is mathematically impossible, since the two numbers must mirror each other.

With the U.S. economy showing even more obvious weakness than in previous years of this fantasy “recovery”; we’re supposed to believe that the U.S. economy just enjoyed its strongest quarters of growth in well over a decade. The economic lies are not merely far-fetched, they are totally ludicrous.

This begs the question: why pervert these “statistics” to such silly extremes? The answer will come immediately to readers the moment they turn on their business news, and hear about yet more “record highs” in the U.S.’s bubble-markets.

At this point; it’s necessary to turn the attention of readers to the themes of two previous commentaries which are of particular significance. The first commentary concerns the method by which all our markets are marched up and down like yo-yo’s, in near-perfect synchronicity – something which is absolutely/mathematically impossible in legitimate markets. Indeed, even in “rigged” markets there is only one means by which these markets can be led-by-the-nose, ever hour of every day: via a computerized Pied Piper.

The second commentary of note concerns the most likely time these bubble-markets will be torpedoed, allowing the sheep to be fleeced, and allowing Warren Buffett to ‘invest’ his hoard of money, which is now well in excess of $60 billion. Even in the Wonderland Matrix; no bubbles can be inflated forever. At some point the bubbles must be “popped”, or they will simply burst on their own – in an uncontrolled/uncontrollable manner.

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Paul Craig Roberts – The United States Is Broke And Europe Looks To China As Insane U.S. Policymakers Push For War
March 28, 2015

With people around the world worried about the escalating conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, today former U.S. Treasury official, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, warned King World News that the United States is broke and Europe is looking to China as insane U.S. policymakers push for war.

Eric King:  “Dr. Roberts, the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has made tremendous inroads (with the Europeans).  As you know, the UK, France, Italy, etc, joined.  Countries are leaving the United States in droves here and looking to the East and saying, ‘Look, we understand you are protesting Washington DC, but we don’t hear you because we have to be part of this (AIIB) — your thoughts on that.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts:  “That’s another example of where the world has decided that serving Washington doesn’t pay.  And so the kind of enslaved, vassalage behavior of other governments toward Washington seems to be drawing to an end….

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China wants to compel U.S. to engage it as an equal partner in AIIB
Author: M.K. Bhadrakumar March 26, 2015

The AIIB Charter is still under discussion. The media report that China is not seeking a veto in the decision-making comes as a pleasant surprise.

Equally, China is actively consulting other founding members (who now include U.K., Germany, France, Italy, etc). These would suggest that Beijing has a much bigger game plan of scattering the U.S.’ containment strategy. Clearly, the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal is already looking more absurd if China were to be kept out of it. The point is, AIIB gives financial underpinning for the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, which now the European countries and Russia have embraced, as they expect much business spin-off.

China has said that its Silk Road projects are not to be confused as a latter-day Marshal Plan for developing countries, and that, on the contrary, the projects will be run on commercial terms. Which opens up enormous opportunities for participation by western companies. In geopolitical terms, therefore, China hopes that the ‘win-win’ spirit that permeates the AIIB and ‘Belt and Road’ will render ineffectual the American attempts to hem it in on the world stage and compel Washington to revisit a ‘new type of relations’ with China.

As for Bretton Woods, to my mind, China hopes that AIIB will force the pace of IMF reforms (which are stalled at the U.S. Congress for the past 4 years). China’s intention is not to destroy the current financial system but to seek a greater role for it in the decision-making and running of the institutions such as World Bank and IMF. China hopes to force a rethink on the part of the US as regards the IMF (ie, expand and reform the institution, accommodate the renminbi and so on.)

All things considered, therefore, I will not be surprised at all if at some point China decides to invite the U.S. to join the AIIB. The bottom line is that, increasingly as more and more indications of Chinese thinking become available, it appears to me that the AIIB is not really intended as an anti-American move (as many have caricatured it), but is more of an initiative that aims at compelling the U.S. incrementally to engage China as equal partner. China went the extra league to attract the western countries to join the AIIB, as that would put pressure on Washington. Indeed, there is much criticism within the U.S. itself that the Obama administration goofed up on the AIIB by clumsily attempting to throttle it in its cradle without comprehending the real thrust of the Chinese initiative – and getting splendidly isolated in the bargain.

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How the Fed is ‘screwed,’ and what happens next
Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom
Friday, 27 Mar 2015 | 1:50 PM ET

Call it a box, or perhaps even a paradox, but the Federal Reserve finds itself in an uncomfortable position heading into its first rate-hiking cycle in nearly a decade.

A central bank that has prided itself on transparency during its ultra-easy cycle following the financial crisis is now doing an awkward dance with a market not quite sure what to make of the road to tightening financial conditions.

The essential problem is this: When the Fed could have raised rates it didn’t want to. Now that it wants to raise rates, it may not be able to, at least not without causing substantial turmoil in the same financial markets it has sought so strenuously to soothe.

The Fed hasn’t raised rates since June 2006.

"There will never be a good time to raise rates off zero when you’ve been there for six years," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, told CNBC. "The Fed’s screwed, essentially."

The extension of the central bank’s dilemma, or box, or paradox, goes like this, as highlighted in Boockvar’s argument: Zero interest rates were a response to the worst U.S. economic crisis since the Great Depression. The economy, though, is far removed from its crisis days. The recession ended in mid-2009, gross domestic product has been on a steady if uninspiring march higher and financial markets, which have received by far the most benefit from Fed programs, have soared. While all that happened, the Fed could have begun the tightening process without disrupting the recovery.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Maybe the West was a little too quick to count Russia out economically. Russia is still very much in the game.

Is Russia back in the game?
Matt Clinch | @mattclinch81
Friday, 27 Mar 2015 | 5:36 AM

With the ruble surging to new 2015 highs, a better-than-expected earnings report and a brief rally in the price of oil, analysts have been contemplating whether the Russian economy has turned a corner.

Benoit Anne, the head of emerging market strategy at Societe Generale said he was bullish on the Russian currency which gained around 1.7 percent against the dollar on Thursday before easing back lower on Friday morning.

"The ruble, I really like it. It’s actually trading on its own planet which, by the way, is a good thing these days," Anne told CNBC Thursday.

"The short term dynamics are much better, volatility is much lower. And it’s a behaved currency these days and the oil price up, that’s a good thing for the ruble."

Pierre Andurand, the managing partner and chief information officer of fund management firm Andurand Capital, predicts that oil prices will rise this year and told CNBC Thursday that this would benefit a Russia which doesn’t have "too much debt" and companies that are performing well.

A weaker dollar and higher oil prices have been the main driver for Russian assets this week as investors focus on tensions in Yemen and how it could affect a key trade route in the region. Russia is heavily reliant on the commodity for its oil and has also been hit by Western sanctions since the annexation of Crimea a year ago.

Russian stock markets have been fallen and the ruble was one of the worst-performing currencies of 2014 despite emergency measures by the country’s central bank. The currency has, nonetheless, seen a 20 percent rally from the lows seen in the depths of the crisis and the greenback was trading at 57.327 against the ruble on Friday morning.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Some people would call this pilling on, I would call it making the playing field more even.

More countries say to join China-backed AIIB investment bank
SHANGHAI/RIO DE JANEIRO

(Reuters) – Russia, Australia and the Netherlands on Saturday became the latest three countries to say they plan to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), adding clout to an institution seen as enhancing China’s regional and global influence.

The AIIB, seen as a challenge to existing institutions the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, has drawn a cool response from the United States, despite which European U.S. allies including Britain, France, Germany and Italy have already announced they would join the bank.

Other countries such as Turkey and South Korea have also said they would join. Brazil, China’s top trading partner, said on Friday it would sign up and that there were no conditions set. "Brazil is very interested in participating in this initiative," the office of President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, speaking on Saturday at a forum in Boao on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, said the country plans to join the AIIB, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Speaking at the same forum, Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the country was planning to apply to become a founding member, according to Xinhua.

And the Netherlands also plans to join, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on his official Facebook page after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China’s Finance Ministry said earlier on Saturday Britain and Switzerland had been formally accepted as founding members of the AIIB, a day after Brazil accepted China’s invitation to join.

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Posted at 8:27 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Jim,

The Iowa turkey season is a week away. I have been scouting our bottom land in preparation. For the last couple of years one big Tom has been kicking butt on all the lesser Toms and getting all the females. While I was watching this Tom yesterday, I noticed a rival had hurt him to where he was having trouble walking. Let me tell you, the other boys got some immediate payback. They had been waiting for a couple of years for this chance at redemption. Every bird got it’s licks in.

Reading about the dollar these days and how fast our old allies are deserting us for the East and the new dominant "Tom," China, reminds me that the human is part of nature. Nobody likes a bully and anyone bullied never forgets. Look out below!

CIGA Bob the Bee Man

 

Jim,

Acceleration…

CIGA Madisonstyle

De-Dollarization Continues As Russia Seeks AIIB Membership
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2015 – 15:30

As we noted a week ago, Vladimir Putin’s calls for a Eurasian currency union clearly demonstrate that the Russian President is acutely aware of the fact that the unipolar world of the 1980s is long gone. Putin’s security council also made it clear this week that the Kremlin is well aware that the sole aim of US foreign policy is preserving Western hegemony via an implicit (and sometimes explicit) policy of containment aimed at perpetuating the idea of US exceptionalism. Moscow then took the rhetoric up a notch on Thursday, accusing the US of attempting to take the “mutual” out of “mutually assured destruction” (i.e. Moscow thinks Washington is trying to tip the nuclear power balance).

Given all of this, we weren’t surprised to learn that Putin is now backing a Russian bid for membership in China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (for a summary of AIIB developments, see here). Here’s more via RT:

Russia decided to apply to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Saturday.

“I would like to inform you about the decision to participate in the AIIB,” which was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Shuvalov said at the Boao Forum for Asia.

Shuvalov added that Russia welcomes China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative and is happy about stepping up cooperation.

"We are delighted to be able to step up cooperation in the format of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and China…the free movement of goods and capital within the EEU brings economies of Europe and Asia closer. This is intertwined with the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, launched by the Chinese leadership," he said.

This comes after yet another US ally threw its support behind the venture last week, as South Korea finally conceded that not joining really wasn’t an option if Seoul wanted to maintain its influence in the region. More color via Bloomberg:

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Posted at 5:44 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Mr. Williams shares the following with us.

- GDP Held at 2.22% but Broader GNP Tumbled to 1.36% 
- Shifting Global Financial and Economic Distortions Impair Domestic Economic Activity

"No. 708: Revised Fourth-Quarter 2014 GDP, Real Median Household Income " 
Web-page: http://www.shadowstats.com

 

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Will the real Ukraine reveal itself?

Ukraine straying away from European values despite its integration slogans — expert
March 27, 21:52 UTC+3

KIEV, March 27. /TASS/. Ukraine is straying further and further from the European values its current authorities used as a slogan in their push for power, a Ukrainian political analyst said on Friday.

"The tasks set by ‘Maidan’ (Kiev’s central Independence Square, the symbol of grass-roots protests — TASS) are not fulfilled, moreover, we are straying away from them in an opposite direction," Mikhail Pogrebinsky, the director of the Kiev-based Center for Political Stdies and Conflictology, a think tank, told a news conference. "I think the previous regime (of former President Viktor Yanukovych) could have done much more in terms of European integration than (current Prime Minister Arseniy) Yatsenyuk and (President Petro) Poroshenko altogether."

He drew attention to the clamp-down on the freedom of speech in Ukraine and to failures in the process of agreeing a visa-free travel regime with the European Union. "We have failed to fulfill all our technical liabilities on the visa-free travel regime. So, we are unlikely to have it in May (at a Riga summit of the Eastern Partnership). This government has been working for a whole year but it did nothing to have a visa-free regime with the European Union," Pogrebinsky said.

Several days ago, the European Union’s ambassador to Ukraine, Jan Tombinski, told journalists the decision on cancelling the visa regime between Ukraine and the European Union would not be taken at the Riga summit of the Eastern Partnership on May 21-22. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko asked the European Union to abolish visas in February 2015, but Tombinski said there had been not enough time for that.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

A helpless Fed that wants to raise rates?

Fiscal drag kills home sales, leaving Fed helpless

New home sales remained at depressed levels in February, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday morning. That’s yet another disappointment to the Fed, which expected that lower mortgage rates would stimulate home buying. As the chart below makes clear, it hasn’t.

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Property taxes are part of the explanation. Total US property tax collections have soared from $580 billion in 2004 to $740 billion at present, and most of the increase occurred while home prices were collapsing.  Think of it this way: if the whole $10 trillion universe of home mortgages were refinanced at the present 30-year mortgage rate of 3.8%, homeowners would pay $380 billion in annual interest and principal. In 2014, individuals paid $348 billion in property taxes. The property tax bill is now roughly as great as the mortgage bill.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This is ther Fed’s worst nightmare.

U.S. couldn’t corral AIIB due to soaring Chinese investments in Europe
Author: Asia Unhedged March 23, 2015

Stopping a stampede isn’t easy – as that old cowpoke Uncle Sam’s discovering as more European nations bolt to join China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The weak Euro’s drawing a conga line of Chinese investments to Europe. The money’s being plunked down not only in “typical” Chinese sectors of historic interest like resources or transportation. It’s focusing geographically across the entire European opportunity and capability spectrum.

The uplifting effects of this investment hasn’t been lost on the European countries who are now eager to climb aboard China’s AIIB.

Ever since Europe embarked on their QE, and China has maintained stability in the yuan. As we have noted, this is viewed as pre-condition for the non-convertible yuan to join the IMF’s SDR currency basket later this year. And the yuan has increased in value against the Euro almost 25% in one year – a trend likely to continue through the year with  the long-term policies of the respective central banks likely to stay in place for the foreseeable future.

According to the EU Observer: “Even before the crisis, these flows surged, tripling from less than US$1 billion per year in 2004-8 to roughly $3 billion in 2009-10. As the Eurozone crisis kicked in, Chinese investment tripled again to $10 billion in 2011. And last year, Chinese investors doubled their money in Europe to a record $18 billion.”

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Get those rates up because dropping them certainly has not done much. Get the feeling the Fed is floundering?

Chicago Fed national activity worst since Q1 2014

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

There goes Israel. Any questions why?

Chinese official: Free trade negotiations with Israel easier than with other countries

The Chinese new site Sina.com reported March 23 (our translation):

Recently, the Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said at a news conference revealed that China and Israel will launch FTA negotiations this year. The government’s work report makes clear that it wants to promote Free Trade Area negotiations with both the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well as Israel, Mr. Shen said.

When will China and Israel open FTA negotiations this year, and how will they proceed? To answer this question, a reporter from China Sankei Shimbun  interviewed the Deputy Director of the Middle East Research Center of China’s Academy of Social Sciences, Liu Dong.

Mr Dong said, “In the case of China – Israel FTA negotiations, I believe that the difficulties will be smaller than in the case of many other countries, since the establishment of the FTA does not have a major impact on  specific industry sectors in China. Progress in  negotiations is likely to be proceed more smoothly than in other cases. China and Israel have their own comparative advantages in trade. They are complementary economies. Israel has developed a relatively high level of technology, and its labor costs are relatively high.”

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

I have a similar story from Tanzania that was in their papers. In the bush where the herbalist (Witch Doctor) is many times the only doctor he has many clients. In one case he made a potion for a sick boy. His father was not a believer and not impressed. He stopped the process, forcing the herbalist to drink his own formula first. The doctor fell over dead.

"I’m Not Stupid" Monsanto Lobbyist Refuses To Drink Weedkiller After Proclaiming "It Won’t Hurt You"
Tyler Durden on 03/27/2015 12:39 -0400

"Do as I say, not as I do," appears to be the message from a controversial lobbyist who claimed that the chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was safe for humans refused to drink his own words when a French television journalist offered him a glass… "I’m not stupid," he proclaims… you be the judge…

In a preview of an upcoming documentary on French TV, Dr. Patrick Moore tells a Canal+ interviewer that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, was not increasing the rate of cancer in Argentina.

Entertaining transcript:

“You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you,” Moore insists.

“You want to drink some?” the interviewer asks. “We have some here.”

“I’d be happy to, actually,” Moore replies, adding, “Not really. But I know it wouldn’t hurt me.”

“If you say so, I have some,” the interviewer presses.

“I’m not stupid,” Moore declares.

“So, it’s dangerous?” the interviewer concludes.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The MFWIC has caused this FUBAR.

Obama’s Mideast ‘free fall’
Mounting chaos in the region puts the administration on the defensive.
By Michael Crowley
3/26/15 7:40 PM EDT

Not everyone is so forgiving. “We’re in a goddamn free fall here,” said James Jeffrey, who served as Obama’s ambassador to Iraq and was a top national security aide in the George W. Bush White House.

For years, members of the Obama team have grappled with the chaotic aftermath of the Arab Spring. But of late they have been repeatedly caught off-guard, raising new questions about America’s ability to manage the dangerous region.

Obama officials were surprised earlier this month, for instance, when the Iraqi government joined with Iranian-backed militias to mount a sudden offensive aimed at freeing the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Nor did they foresee the swift rise of the Iranian-backed rebels who toppled Yemen’s U.S.-friendly government and disrupted a crucial U.S. counterterrorism mission against Al Qaeda there.

Both situations took dramatic new turns this week. The U.S. announced its support for a Saudi-led coalition of 10 Sunni Arab nations that began bombing the Houthis, while Egypt threatened to send ground troops — a move that could initiate the worst intra-Arab war in decades.

Meanwhile, the U.S. launched airstrikes against ISIL in Tikrit after originally insisting it would sit out that offensive. U.S. officials had hoped to avoid coordination with Shiite militias under the direct control of Iranian commanders in the country.

Now the U.S. is in the strange position of fighting ISIL alongside Iran at the same time it backs the Sunni campaign against Iran’s allies in Yemen — even as Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to seal a nuclear deal with Iran in Switzerland within days.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The Iran deal is working out well.

Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons
Jon Stone
Friday 27 March 2015

Saudi Arabia will not rule out building or acquiring nuclear weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States has indicated.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”.

Pressed later on the issue he said: “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on.”

The ambassador’s reticence to rule out a military nuclear programme may reignite concerns that the autocratic monarchy has its eye on a nuclear arsenal.

Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.

The two countries maintain close relations and are sometimes said to have a special relationship; they currently have close military ties and conduct joint exercises.

The Saudi Arabian regime also already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles in the form of the Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force.

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Posted at 5:36 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Jim,

A scary article from Sprott about the impending hyperinflation scenario coming soon.

CIGA Wolfgang Rech

Invest in Food – Bullion Bulls Canada – Sprott Money News
March 20, 2015

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This insane, suicidal explosion in the U.S. monetary base does notsuggest that the U.S. will face hyperinflation (of the U.S. dollar) in some relatively near-term horizon; it guarantees it. As we see the Euro-zone just (proudly) announce the conjuration of more than a trillion, new units of its own funny-money, and as we see the corrupt/incompetent Harper regime relentlessly destroy the Canadian dollar; obviously other Western populations will meet a similar fate with their own, paper funny-money.

While we can sacrifice consumption of many categories of goods in the face of a hyperinflationary spiral, we cannot avoid food consumption. At some point (likely between the end of this year and the middle of 2016); we will face an economic crisis characterized by the deflationary crashes of all the bubble-assets, with ‘sympathetic’ crashes for mostother asset classes.

However, what readers need to understand is that a purely “deflationary” crash is no longer possible for thebankrupt regimes of the Western world. In order for any national economy to deflate; it must have savings it can cannibalize, in order to survive that deflationary shock (as was the case in “the Great Depression”).

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Jim,

A snippet from the article below.

CIGA Wolfgang

Interesting enough, raising the Fed Funds Rate, in the absence of economic recovery, will drive money away from the bond market!   And into gold (which is in serious short supply).

“Markets are unlikely to wait until the escape from the zero bound is put to the test. Before the investing public becomes aware of the full ramifications of the problem, more prescient bankers and fund managers will reposition their bond holdings, which brings us to gold.

Those of us that follow this market closely know that for the last three years at least Asian demand has led to large shifts of bullion from western capital markets towards Asia. The behaviour of the markets in London and New York already indicate that shortages of physical bullion are a delicate problem, and this is before markets wake up to the growing likelihood that the Fed cannot afford to see interest rates rise.

If interest rates cannot rise, then the dollar itself is ultimately exposed to loss of confidence in the foreign exchanges. The dawning realisation that after recent strength, the dollar is vulnerable after all can be expected to be reflected in a positive sentiment towards gold, which once under way could drive the price up dramatically due to the lack of available bullion.”

Central Banks Are Paralyzed At The Zero Bound
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/27/2015 – 15:02

If normalisation is the result of economic recovery we will be familiar with the playbook. However, The Fed has to face the possibility that, for whatever reason, highly suppressed interest rates are not working, and an escape from the zero interest rate bound without economic recovery may have to be contemplated. If interest rates cannot rise, then the dollar itself is ultimately exposed to loss of confidence in the foreign exchanges. The dawning realisation that after recent strength, the dollar is vulnerable after all can be expected to be reflected in a positive sentiment towards gold, which once under way could drive the price up dramatically due to the lack of available bullion.

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Posted at 10:27 AM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Another birthday with my English Bull dog Mia by my side.

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Pentagon Declassifies Documents Confirming Israel Has Nukes
21:02 26.03.2015(updated 00:46 27.03.2015)

In the latest example of the strained relationship between the United States and Israel, the Pentagon has quietly released a classified document which reveals the extent of Israel’s nuclear program. A program the Israeli government has long denied even exists.

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the controversial invitation to speak before the US Congress and warn against "a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences…to all humanity."

The speech received, perhaps, the largest round of applause heard in the Capitol since Republicans took control of both houses of Congress. President Obama was less enthused, calling the address "nothing new."

Coincidentally or not, Netanyahu’s speech coincided with the Pentagon’s decision to declassify a top-secret document which proves that despite Bibi’s warnings about a "nuclearized Middle East," the region is already a host to nuclear weapons. Namely: Israel’s.

The 386-page report, entitled "Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations," dates back to 1987 and critical details on a nuclear program Israel has never admitted having.

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All Central American nations ready to develop cooperation with Russia — minister
March 26, 21:02 UTC+3

GUATEMALA CITY, March 26. /TASS/. All the Central American countries are prepared to strengthen cooperation with Russia in a broad spectrum of spheres, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales said on Thursday upon the end of negotiations with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.

"We’re going to strengthen our cooperation and I’m speaking not only on behalf of Guatemala but on behalf of all the Central American nations," Morales said.

He confirmed the reports that Russia will file an application for a non-regional observer status in the Central American Integration System (SICA) at the association’s conference underway in Guatemala.

"That’s a crucial meeting for us that will help build up our cooperative relations in all the spheres," Morales said.

SICA embraces Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and El Salvador.

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Posted at 10:25 AM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Dear CIGAs,

Weimar is in play now.  See attached photo.  My Mom had major Heart attack in Feb.2015. 1 week in ICU, 2 weeks in a private room at a trauma hospital. No not high end institution. All of her legacy wealth is gone in one medical emergency. This is real now, almost caused my dad to have a heart attack himself!

CIGA Scott

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Jim,

I guess we just find out how the commercial loan market did not fall 3 or 4 years ago like it was expected. The banksters were carrying the loans and not requiring payments and let them float for the past 3 years. Normally there is a 3 to 5 year cycle of refinancing which never seemed to have taken place.

CIGA Miki

Empty Stores Haunt Landlords as More Retailers Plan Cuts
Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 09:01 AM

A former Borders bookstore in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood has sat empty for about four years, reviving last Halloween as a costume shop, then going dark again.

“When it was functioning as a Borders, it was a bustling Borders,” said Erin Ross, executive director of the 95th Street Beverly Hills Business Association, a trade group for business and property owners on the Chicago thoroughfare. “It’s just kind of a source of disappointment right now.”

Empty stores from retailers that went out of business years ago — such as Borders Group Inc., which had big floor plans that are hard to fill — are dotting shopping centers across the country at a time the rest of the commercial real estate market has rebounded. They’re now going to be joined by thousands of additional stores that will soon be vacant as retailers such as RadioShack Corp. file for bankruptcy and department-store operators including J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s Inc. cut locations to save money.

Vacancies at U.S. regional malls rose to 8 percent in the fourth quarter from 7.9 percent a year earlier, partly because of Sears Holdings Corp. store closures, according to Reis Inc. The real estate recovery for neighborhood and community shopping centers has “remained at a snail’s pace,” the New York-based research firm said in January.

“Net demand is a fraction of what it was in the last cycle,” said Ryan McCullough, a senior real estate economist at Washington-based CoStar Group Inc. “Part of that reason is the store closures that have been happening and will be happening.”

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Posted at 2:03 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Mr. Biff on the lookout.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

These sanctions at this time really seem to have serious blow back events. Maybe those that sanction should think about the wisdom of the course of action.

Turkey May Give Nod to Russian Missile Defense Offer – Official
Sputnik/ Mihail Mokrushin
17:52 26.03.2015(updated 17:56 26.03.2015

Turkey may reconsider a Russian proposal to jointly develop a missile defense complex if the price is right and the technology transfer terms are more acceptable to Ankara, a high-ranking official said in Ankara earlier this week.

Turkey launched a tender for the purchase of long-range air defense systems in 2009. In 2013, Ankara announced that it had selected China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp’s (CPMIEC) FD-2000 area defense system for its air and missile defense requirement, dubbed T-LORAMIDS.

Beijing said it would line up the system for just $3.4 billion. Moreover, unlike the other bidders, Beijing agreed to have some of the missiles’ components to be built in Turkey, and to hand their construction technology over to the Turkish side.

CPMIEC’s bid beat out the more expensive proposals from Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30; a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, maker of the Patriot; and Russia’s Rosoboronexport, which makes the S-300/S-400.

The announcement caused concern among Turkey’s NATO allies, above all the United States. After the Chinese firm failed to meet all of the conditions of the $3.4 billion tender Turkey announced it would study rival bids.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

A turn away from the will of Washington?

The Clock is Ticking for Ukraine Reforms – European MP
18:24 26.03.2015(updated 18:33 26.03.2015)

Europe’s leading countries will turn away from Ukraine if it keeps dragging its feet on reforms, a prominent member of the European parliament said Thursday.

Europe’s leading countries will turn away from Ukraine if it keeps dragging its feet on reforms, Gabrielius Landsbergis, a Lithuanian member of the European parliament, said Thursday.

“We’ve been getting many alarming signals from Kiev, that not all of the reforms have been launched, that the anti-corruption campaign is going slow, that the oligarchs wield as much power as they did under [ex-President Victor] Yanukovich, Gabrielius Landsbergis told Deutsche Welle on Thursday.

He said that, unlike other EU countries, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Estonia would support Ukraine “as long as it takes”.

“As to the Western European countries, they want to see clear progress. If some of them start getting tired, Ukraine will be in for really bad times,” the MP said, adding that Kiev had until June to get its act together.

“I can’t say precisely when this weariness becomes irreversible, but I hope Ukraine still has time to stabilize the situation…  At least before June because of the anti-Russian sanctions we’ll have to extend,” Gabrielius Landsbergis said.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Yes, those sanctions surely do have teeth.

China may replace US Caterpillar as partner of Russian locomotive manufacturer
March 26, 18:54 UTC+3

MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. The Russian state corporation Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) may start cooperation with China on its project of development and production of locomotives, CEO Oleg Sienko said in an interview to TASS.

Earlier the corporation planned to implement the project jointly with the US-based Caterpillar, however, the cooperation was frozen due to sanctions introduced by the US against UVZ.

"The Chinese [companies] may come instead of Caterpillar, we’re studying this issue. We even have joint framework agreements singed," Sienko said.

In 2013, UVZ and Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), a leading manufacturer of diesel-electric locomotives, signed a memorandum of understanding to examine potential opportunities for the development and build out of mainline locomotives in Russia. The plan was to develop a mainline locomotive model at 4500 BHP using an EMD AC transmission system, EMD 16-710 engine and other EMD service proven components, technologies and designs. The two companies planned to achieve 50% local content in Russia for the locomotive build program.

Research and Production Corporation Uralvagonzavod is a Russian corporation integrating over 20 industrial enterprises, R&D establishments and design engineering bureaus in Russia and Europe. It produces about 200 kinds of products: military equipment, road-building machinery and railway vehicles. Uralvagonzavod Corporation is the largest in the CIS manufacturer of railway cars with a market share of about 35%, and Russia’s only producer of T-90 heavy tank and special equipment on its base. The Russian Government owns 100% of the UVZ shares via Rosimushchestvo (the Federal Agency for State Property Management).

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This is really going downhill fast!

Saudi Arabia Imposes Naval Blockade On Red Sea Strait, Deploys 150,000 Troops As Iran Condemns Military Action
Tyler Durden on 03/26/2015 07:51 -0400

As noted earlier, the biggest significance of any Yemen conflict has little to do with its own domestic oil production, which at 133,000 bpd is negligible, but due to its location, which not only shares a border with Saudi Arabia, but more importantly due to the Bab el-Mandeb strait which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden: it is the fourth-biggest shipping chokepoint in the world by volume (3.8 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products flowed through it in 2013) and is just 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. It’s located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

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And since to Saudi Arabia preserving the logistics of oil supply is critical, it is hardly surprising that as Egypt’s Ahram Gate reported earlier, the Saudi-led Firmness Stormcoalition imposed a naval blockade on Bab El-Mandab strait earlier today. The Saudi navy’s western fleet has also secured Yemen’s main ports including Aden and Midi.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Welcome to the East Coast.

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US Hegemony, Dollar Dominance Are Officially Dead As China Scores Overwhelming Victory In Bank Battle
Tyler Durden on 03/25/2015 17:00 -0400

It’s official: everyone has caught onto the fact that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank story is extremely important. We’ve covered this exhaustively over the past month, but to summarize, the China-led development bank essentially marks an epochal shift away from traditionally US-dominated multinational institutions like the IMF and the ADB. Meanwhile, it also represents an implicit attempt by the Chinese to usher in a kind of sino-Monroe Doctrine and solidify their regional — and, to a certain extent their international — ambitions. In a desperate attempt to undermine the effort and preserve what’s left of US hegemony, Washington aggressively lobbied its allies last year to refrain from supporting the effort. Then the UK decided to join calling the bank an “unrivaled opportunity.” That effectively opened the floodgates and in short order, a bevy of Western nations and close US allies suddenly reversed course and indicated they were likely to support the new institution. Here’s more:

US Attacks "Closest Ally" UK For "Constant Accommodation" With China

De-Dollarization Accelerates As More Of Washington’s "Allies" Defect To China-Led Bank

US "Isolated" As Key Ally Japan Considers Joining China-Led Bank

US Upset At West’s Lack Of War Preparedness

Treasury Secretary Lew Admits US "International Credibility & Influence Is Being Threatened"

With the deadline for applications fast approaching, news coverage has picked up markedly of late. Here’s Bloomberg for instance:

China’s clout has been expanding for decades, as its rapid growth allowed it to snap up a rising share of the world’s resources, its exports penetrated global markets, and its bulging financial assets gave it power to make big individual loans and purchases. Now, the creation of international lending institutions is leveraging that economic influence closer to the political and diplomatic arenas, as U.S. allies defy America to back China’s initiative.

“This is the beginning of a bigger role for China in global affairs,” said Jim O’Neill, U.K.-based former chief economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who coined the term BRICs in 2001 to highlight the rising economic power of Brazil, Russia, India and China…

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision of achieving the same great-power status enjoyed by the U.S. received a major boost this month when the U.K., Germany, France and Italy signed on to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The AIIB will have authorized capital of $100 billion and starting funds of about $50 billion.

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Posted at 1:49 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Jim,

So what. Let ‘em eat cake.

“A global Harvard Business School survey found that most people think pay gaps are far smaller than they are. That was particularly true in the U.S., where survey respondents thought the ratio of CEO to average worker pay was 30 to 1; they put the ideal ratio at 7 to 1. “

In actuality it’s 331 to 1.

How misinformed, even the Harvard Grads are!

CIGA Wolfgang

US CEO-Worker Pay Gap Is Widest In Developed World
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2015 12:20 -0400

Not too long ago we solved the mystery of America’s missing wage growth by pointing to the fact that wage growth for the country’s "non-supervisory" workers was in fact headed in the wrong direction, while America’s bosses were seeing their pay increase. We went on to note that with the correlation between consumer spending and wage growth now nearly perfect, the US economy could well suffer given that non-supervisory workers account for four-fifths of total employment and consumer spending accounts for three fourths of GDP.

If you needed further evidence of the disparity in compensation for America’s bosses versus what everyone else makes, look no further than the following chart from Bloomberg which shows that the pay gap between CEOs and workers is wider in America than in any other country in the developed world — and wider by a lot.

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Jim,

I find an interesting dichotomy in what is being said by China and what is actually being done.

-We saw how well QE worked for Japan over the last decade or more:  a Failure.
-We saw how well $11 trillion in QE worked for the US this past decade: a Failure.
-We now have Europe participating in QE to the tune of $1.25 trillion. If history serves us, it should be a failure.

Recently China has admitted it will embark on QE also, to support its economy.

That is a RED HERRING!

China has been buying gold hand over fist over the past few years. This is done to strengthen the Yuan and make it the dominant currency of the world.

Why on earth would they try to decimate their currency, when at the same time, try to bolster it with gold?

It doesn’t make sense.

My thought is that they are trying to lead the West to believe QE and decimation of currencies is a good thing.  Trying to lull us into complacency. Meanwhile, it’s all talk, nothing more. They will NOT be doing QE, only saying they will.

They will continue to strengthen their currency and make it the shining star of global trade.

CIGA Wolfgang Rech

Dear Wolfgang,

You got it right. Never believe what the Chinese officials say. Believe the opposite.

Respectfully,
Jim

"Belief That European QE Will Work Is Far-Fetched," Bill White Warns This Will "End Very Badly"

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2015 – 20:00

"I’m not sure [European QE] is going to do anything – certainly, nothing that’s good. The fundamental problem here, as I see it anyway, is that the European banking system is still broken… I think, increasingly, bankers are discomforted more than anything else (it’s not just the ex central bankers but increasingly the people that are still holding the levers)… they are starting to ask whether they have somehow been backed into a place where they don’t really want to be…. Unfortunately, [it] is getting bigger and bigger. There is a possibility at least that this whole exercise could end very badly."

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