Infographic: Unearthing The World’s Gold Supply

This infographic, part two in our 2014 Gold Series (part 1 here), covers the full supply picture behind the yellow metal. Within the planet’s crust, there is only 1 gram of gold for every 250 tonnes (550,000 lbs) of earth. Gold’s rarity means that finding economic deposits is extremely difficult. To understand how gold mining and supply work, we must first unearth how gold deposits form…

 

 

Full Visual Capitalist Infographic here


    



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BATS Admits CEO Lied About HFT On CNBC

It is now quite clear why BATS CEO Bill O’Brien was so agitated during the Tuesday’s screamfest on CNBC. As The Wall Street Journal’s Scott Patterson reports, under pressure from the NYAG, BATS has hurriedly issued a statement correcting the CEO’s false comments during the exchange with IEX’s Brad Katsuyama. After Katsuyama said “you wanna do this, let’s do this” clearly giving him an out, O’Brien stated that BATS priced its trades off ‘high-speed’ data feeds when in fact they price their trades off a much slower feed (and therefore ‘enable’ the exact HFT-front-running that is in question).

Here is the clip in particular where O’Brien lies following Katsuyama’s question… that BATS uses the high-speed feed to price its trades…

The exchange in question…

What do you use to price trades in your matching engine on Direct Edge?” Mr. Katsuyama asked Mr. O’Brien.

 

“We use the direct feeds,” Mr. O’Brien said.

 

Mr. Katsuyama, whose IEX dark pool markets itself as a haven for investors against high-speed traders, later brought up the issue again. “You use the SIP to price trades on Direct Edge,” he said.

 

“That is not true,” Mr. O’Brien said.

 

 

But as The Wall Street Journal reports, it was true

BATS Global Markets Inc., under pressure from the New York Attorney General’s office, corrected statements made by a senior executive during a televised interview this week about how its exchanges work.

 

BATS President William O’Brien, during a CNBC interview Tuesday, said BATS’s Direct Edge exchanges use high-speed data feeds to price stock trades. Thursday, the exchange operator said two of its exchanges, EDGA and EGX, use a slower feed, known as the Securities Information Processor, to price trades.

 

The distinction matters because high-speed traders can use powerful computers and superfast links between markets to outpace traders and trading venues that rely on slower market data, such as the SIP.

 

Full BATS Statement below:

Clarification Regarding Market Data Usage

 

April 03, 2014

 

BATS Global Markets wishes to clarify the market data usage of its exchanges. With respect to routing, EDGA & EDGX use direct depth-of-book data feeds for all major exchanges, and data from the relevant securities information processor (SIP) for certain smaller exchanges. With respect to the matching engine, EDGA & EDGX currently use the SIP, but will be transitioning to direct feeds from all major exchanges in January 2015. BATS BZX and BYX exchanges currently use direct feeds for both routing and its matching engine from all major exchanges, and SIP data from certain smaller exchanges.

Apparently the NYAG decided to make a public spectacle and to force O’Brien to shame himself (in a very low frequency fashion) publicly on Twitter:

This leaves us with two possibilities, either:

1) The CEO of BATS has no idea what his firm actually does and is merely happy to earn an impressive amount of money skimming off the rest of the population of market traders no questions asked, or

 

2) The CEO of BATS is a liar and is merely happy to earn an impressive amount of money skimming off
the rest of the population of market traders no questions asked.


    



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The Economic Catastrophe That Is Abenomics Sends Japanese Gas Prices To Five Year Highs

While we have heard all the usual excuses that “Japan had no other choices” and that Abe simply had to slay the “deflation ogre” (it is still unclear why deflation is bad for the common man, if quite clear why it is disastrous for massively insolvent and overlevered banks) the simple truth is that it was clear from the very beginning that Abenomics would be an abysmal failure. Ironically, in recent months the cheerleaders of Japan’s last ditch effort to delay the inevitable have gotten a second wind: “look at all the inflation” they say, and point to it as evidence that Abenomics is indeed working. There is a problem – it is inflation of all the wrong “non-core” items.

That inflation, it was also clear from the beginning, would surge. Read our take on just this from September:

… even the most absurdly clueless economist is silent this morning in their praise of Abenomics, which supposedly has succeeded in its one goal – bringing sexy inflation back. Why? Perhaps the reason is that whereas Keynesian inflation in which prices and wages are broadly if modestly rising as a result of a properly functioning monetary system, is indeed just what the Doctor of modern economics ordered, soaring input costs driven by FX differentials and current account flows, “offset” by plunging wages is precisely the opposite of what Abenomics was supposed to be. Which is exactly what is going on in Japan.

 

 

In other words, all that Abenomics’ cratering of the Yen has succeeded in doing is causing gas and energy prices, and to a lesser extent food, to surge, just as we warned would happen in February. And of course, to make a few US-based hedge funds investing in the Nikkei that much richer.

In other words, all Japan managed to do is import the bad “non-core” inflation, which has sent food and energy prices through the rood (confused why the rest of the world is suffering from an episode of acute deflation? look no further than deflation-exporting Japan) and made “non-core” purchases like food and gas increasingly more unaffordable to the ordinary Japanese consumer.

Today it just went from bad to worse, because as Nikkei reports, gasoline prices at the pump surged to a 5-year high in Japan this week, due to tax increases.  The Oil Information Center says the average retail price was 164.1 yen, or about 1.6 dollars, per liter, as of April 1st. That’s an increase of about 4.9 cents from the previous week.

More from Nikkei:

The average price rose for the 4th straight week, and hit the highest since October 2008.

 

Japan raised the consumption tax rate from 5 to 8 percent on April 1st. The country also increased the anti-global warming tax on fossil fuel by 0.2 cents per liter.

 

Officials at the center say gasoline sales will be weak for a while after a rush in demand before the tax hikes. They say prices will level off or rise slightly next week as the weak yen is pushing up costs of imported crude oil.

Actually gasoline sales, and all other sales will be weak for a long, long time. Why? The one reason all the above-mentioned cheerleaders of Abenomics fall strangely silent when it comes to the one all important, beneficial inflation that by now should have arrived. That of wages.

Unfortunately for Japan and those same clueless economist cheerleaders, as we reported on Tuesday, in February Japan announced that not only has there not been any base wage inflation, but wages have now declined for a Lehman-crisis like 21 consecutive months.

 

So what next?

Well, more pain until the locals get so sick of Abenomics, that Abe meets yet another prematue, Diarrhea-coated exit. Because while the Japanese stock market, which is still down materially YTD and hence instead of providing a “wealth effect” is merely adding to the “misery effect”, may provide some temporary solace to those – about 20% or so – who are invested, everyone else is looking at even faster wealth destruction as the value of the Yen continues to slide, as “non-core” products like food and energy continues to rise to multi-year highs, and as wages continue to slide.

This is what we said last time to summarize the dead end Japan is about to crash into head first:

So let’s see here: a consumption crippling sales tax increase, soaring input prices which are cratering corporate profit margins just as Abe is really begging firms to hike wages, sliding confidence (which in Japan usually is a leading indicator to government change) as consumers can no longer even afford gasoline, and oh, we almost forget, core deflation. But, hey, look over there, just like in Caracas, the Nikkei is exploding.

All the same is true now. Only this time it’s even worse.


    



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Welcome to the Era of Politically Correct Web Browsing!

The newly appointed CEO of Mozilla, which gives
away the popular web browser Firefox, has stepped down since being
outed as an opponent of gay marriage by the dating site OK Cupid.

In a new column for

Time
,
 I argue that the Internet has empowered faster,
better, stronger activism along with faster, better, stronger
shopping. That’s great as far as it goes, but there’s always a
catch, isn’t there?

Now that we’re well past a subsistence economy, we live in a
world of largely symbolic exchange, where we don’t simply choose
something because we’re hungry or naked but because we want to make
a statement about what sort of person we are, what sort of taste we
possess, and what sort of values we share.

But socially conscious web browsing will also be a
time-consuming and hugely complicating activity too. One of the
great promises of the Internet was that it would allow all of us to
sift through vast amounts of information and arrive at the best
answer in record time. We all know it hasn’t quite worked out that
way. We spend more time than ever hunting for new things and then
even more energy comparing this option to that option. And now, we
have even more to consider every time we fire up our browser.


Read the whole thing.

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Guest Post: Russia Is Dominated By Global Banks, Too

Submitted by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market blog,

Numerous cultures have had holidays dedicated to the celebration of pulling the wool over the eyes of others, from the ancient Romans, to early Muslims, to medieval Christians, to Americans and Europeans today. As April begins, we once again turn a mischievous eye to the concept of the fool and, as always, each person seeks to be the prankster and never the victim.

Unfortunately, even the most vigilant of Americans can sometimes be led astray by a clever ruse, and I believe this is taking place today in the Liberty Movement’s perception of the rising “tensions” between Russia and the West.

In my article Ukraine Crisis: Just Another Globalist-Engineered Powder Keg, I outlined the history of false paradigms and engineered conflicts between numerous nations, including how these conflicts are exploited by global money interests to consolidate and centralize social and political power. The birth of communist Russia, in particular, was directly funded by Western banks and supported with arms and military aid from the U.S. government itself. These sorts of startling facts are not taught in schools and universities exactly because the continued dominance of the money elite relies on continued misrepresentations of legitimate history.

Many in the Liberty Movement have studied and are well aware of the central banking cabal and its stranglehold on the U.S. and Europe. But strangely, some people refuse to acknowledge the substantial possibility that global bankers are also in control of Russia and are playing both sides of the burgeoning economic war.

As the Ukrainian crisis festers and other dangers in the Pacific and the Mideast grow, an odd consensus among alternative analysts is taking hold — namely the belief that President Vladimir Putin and Russia represent some kind of opposition to globalization and the rule of corporate financiers. Perhaps moments in Putin’s rhetoric and the existence of media outlets like RT have seduced elements of the Liberty Movement into assuming that Russia is a “victim” in the grand schemes of Western oligarchy and that Russia is truly the "white knight", the underdog willing to stand up against the New World Order. I’m sorry to say that nothing could be further from the truth.

Russia is just as much a tool of the global elite today as it was after the Bolshevik Revolution, and Vladimir Putin is just as much a socialist puppet as Barack Obama. Let’s start from the beginning of the rebirth of Russia as a regional federation in the 1990s after the fall of the Warsaw Pact.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader largely credited with the ultimate dismantling of the Soviet Union and the rise of the “new” Russia, has long been a proponent of the “New World Order” (his words) and centralized global government. In an address entitled “Perspectives On Global Change” to the students of Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., Gorbachev argued that such a solution was necessary to safeguard “freedom.”

 

“The opportunities that existed after the end of the Cold War… were not used properly. At that same time, we saw that the entire world situation did not develop positively. We saw deterioration where there should have been positive movement toward a new world order.”

He continued:

“But we still are facing the problem of building such a world order. We have crises: we are facing problems of the environment, of backwardness and poverty, of food shortages. All of these problems are because we do not have a system of global governance.”

When asked in 1995 by San Francisco Weekly what Gorbachev meant by the phrase “New World Order,” Jim Garrison, the executive director of the Gorbachev Foundation stated, bluntly that Gorbachev wanted nothing less than global government.

"Over the next 20 to 30 years, we are going to end up with world government. … It’s inevitable. It will happen and become just as normal to have a relationship with the rest of the world as we now have, say, if you are a Californian and you go to Vermont."

Take note that it has now been almost 20 years since the Garrison's assertion and the motions towards a global currency are picking up great speed.  Gorbachev saw global government being achieved through international organizations like the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But, is this vision of the New World Order limited only to Gorbachev and his inner circle? At the Gorbachev-led State of the World Forum in 1995, Council On Foreign Relations member Zbigniew Brzezinski had this to say:

“We do not have a New World Order. … We cannot leap into world government in one quick step. … In brief, the precondition for eventual globalization — genuine globalization — is progressive regionalization, because thereby we move toward larger, more stable, more cooperative units.”

In Zbigniew K. Brzezinski’s book Between Two Ages: America’s Role In The Technetronic Era, he elaborates on the ideology behind what brand of government the New World Order would be:

"The nation-state is gradually yielding its sovereignty… More intensive efforts to shape a new world monetary structure will have to be undertaken."

"National sovereignty is no longer a viable concept… Marxism represents a further vital and creative state in the maturing of man’s universal vision. Marxism is simultaneously a victory of the external, active man over the inner, passive man and a victory of reason over belief…"

Brzezinski seems to be in total agreement with Gorbachev, but why should anyone care what Brzezinski thinks about the future of American sovereignty? Perhaps it’s because he is a close and influential foreign policy adviser to Obama.

So we have now established that political interests on both sides since the 1990s have called for a New World Order and global government taking a decidedly socialist or Marxist form. Some people might applaud this kind of future, or they might despise it; but the fact remains that this plan is indeed being openly promoted and implemented by government officials and elitists in the East and the West. It is undeniable.

From its very inception, the new Russia was designed to become a catalyst for global governance, but global governance by whom? As they say, always follow the money.

Russia is more beholden to international bankers than perhaps any nation on the planet. After the collapse of the Russian economy and the dissolution of the old Soviet Union, the country was in dire straits. From 1992 to 1996, the IMF intervened in the Russian economy, offering more than $22 billion in aid (officially). This first loan package was presented as a failure when Russia defaulted on its debts, and loans from the IMF restarted through the late ’90s until this very day.

Many people are aware of the IMF involvement in Russia, but few know about the scandal surrounding where those IMF funds specifically went. In 1999, information was made public on the diversion of IMF cash into the coffers of Russian corporate elites, politicians, and even mobsters. This money was supposed to go toward the rebuilding of Russian infrastructure and economy. Instead, the aristocracy and criminal underworld were receiving a large cut of the funds.

The money was diverted and laundered through the Bank of New York, an institution founded in 1784 by none other than internationalist agent and central bank promoter Alexander Hamilton. The bank changed ownership through merger in 2007 and is now called The Bank Of New York Mellon.

The IMF’s first response to the scandal was to divert blame, stating that it had no control over the cash once it was in the hands of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR). After continued revelations on funds being misused or disappearing altogether, the IMF commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to audit the CBR. The results of that audit have never been made public. However, in 1999 the Russian government admitted that it had hidden more than $50 billion offshore in a subsidiary bank in the Channel Islands. Part of this money came from IMF bailouts. The former chairman of the CBR, Sergey Dubinin, insisted that the IMF was fully aware of who the funds were going to.

Numerous officials from the chief state auditor to the minister of internal security to the prosecutor general of Russia had come forward with information that corroborated evidence that IMF money was being distributed to the wrong people. The chairman of the Duma Committee on Security stated that some of the IMF loans never made it to Russia. Rather, the money was pumped into the secret foreign accounts of Russia’s highest officials.

Despite all of the admissions and evidence, IMF auditors refused to cite any corruption or malfeasance during their investigations. One would think that they would do everything in their power to find out where their funds went and why. The reason for the cover-up is obvious: The IMF knew exactly who the money was going to. The first bailouts of Russia were designed to buy the cooperation of the Russian political and corporate elite and ensure that the future direction of the nation would follow the globalist plan.

Fast-forward to the present. Putin continues the subversive relationship between Russia and the IMF. In 2009, Putin called for the creation of a “super reserve currency” under the control of the IMF and using the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket as a foundation.

Why would Putin, a supposedly anti-globalist nationalist leader, want the IMF, a supposedly U.S.-controlled institution, to be the global purveyor and overlord of the world economy? It’s because the IMF is not a U.S.-controlled institution; it is a banker-controlled institution. And Putin is a globalist, not a nationalist.

The recent break of Crimea from Ukraine and secession to Russia was partly instigated by the vast concessions required by the IMF if loans to Ukraine were to move forward. One of these concessions included the handing over of Ukrainian gas pipelines to America’s Chevron. Crimean leaders accused Kiev politicians of selling out Ukraine to the global bankers.

However, it was actually Russia’s finance minister and Putin who first pushed for the IMF bailout of Ukraine. It was, in fact, Putin who wanted Ukraine to “sell out” to Western financiers.

Russia’s central bank is also a member of the Bank of International Settlements, the good-old-boys club of the international banking world. The BIS was founded in 1930 and served as the focal point of globalization until after World War II, when evidence arose that the organization had helped the Nazis by funding the German war machine, laundering money for Gestapo officials and hiding funds looted from Europe by the Third Reich.

Due to the scandal, the BIS took a back seat to the IMF and World Bank; but it still exists today. Carroll Quigley, Council on Foreign Relations member, elitist insider and mentor to Bill Clinton, had this to say about the BIS in his book Tragedy And Hope:

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank, in the hands of men like Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Rist of the Bank of France, and Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

Putin has been elevated to heroic status in much of the mainstream media over the years. TIME magazine, a long-running globalist publication, recently published a front-page article with this tagline: “America’s weak and waffling. Russia’s rich and resurgent — and its leader doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him.”

This cover was used by TIME in every country in which it is distributed, except the United States.

The Times of Britain named Putin “Man Of The Year” in 2013. In Liberty Movement circles, Putin worship has been growing to disturbing levels. I would say at least half of our movement truly believes Putin and Russia to be a guiding light in the fight against globalization and the New World Order. Unfortunately, many people look for heroes to save them when they should be looking to themselves. Putin’s nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize for his “intervention” in the Syrian crisis is celebrated by many freedom fighters here in America, when, in reality, the Obama Administration’s failure to achieve a war footing in the region had nothing to do with the actions of Russia.

Remember, Russia and the U.S. are nothing but false champions dueling in a fake gladiator match paid for by the IMF. The war against Syria was thwarted because the elites were unable to garner enough public support from the American people to make the action viable. Every engineered war needs a gullible percentage of the population to give it momentum. Why didn’t they get their following from the public? It was because of the tireless efforts of the alternative media.

It was the Liberty Movement that exposed the lies behind the Syrian insurgency; the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya; the CIA’s involvement with al-Qaida in Damascus, etc. It is the Liberty Movement that deserves the credit for disrupting the globalist plan to use Syria as a trigger event for a false confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. Yet many are cheering the elitist puppet Putin while he takes credit for our accomplishments.

The most frightening aspect of the false paradigm between East and West is the potential it creates for the co-option of liberty proponents here in America. If we allow ourselves to be suckered into cheerleading for Russia, or any controlled government for that matter, then we have lost. We will be swallowed up in the tides of war, while supporting false prophets and artificial protagonists. Our mission, the mission for a truly free and sovereign America, will be lost in the confusion and chaos of the global chess game. It is time to accept that the fate of this country and perhaps the future of human freedom rest solely on the shoulders of the resistance here at home. There is no nation out there in the ether of central banking that is going to help us. The sooner we come to terms with the reality that we are on our own, the stronger we will be when the fight begins.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1hlsbhE Tyler Durden

This HFT Firm Is Hiring “Traders”

Quantlab Financial, a member of the proud Modern Markets Initiative comprising exclusively of HFT firms and which has bought up massive amounts of Google advertising so it appears above Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys in direct google queries… 

 

… is hiring “traders.”

 

Bonus #1: the “traders” of HFT firm Hudson River Trading, another member of the Modern Market Initiative, are enjoying lunch:

 

Bonus #2: Everyone knows that HFT firm Virtu, which was forced to delay its IPO over the backlash due to “Flash Boys”, had 1237 profitable trading days out of 1238. But what about other HFT firms? Here is an interview with Mark Forton, head of another firm of the Modern Market Initative, Tower Research, in which he is asked:

Q. Has Tower ever had a down year?

A. No.

Yes indeed: HFT is truly the holy grail of non-rigged markets trading.


    



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USA and EU: Banks Just Not Lending

Follow ZeroHedge in Real-Time on FinancialJuice

So, they might be on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean, but the Europeans and the Americans have one thing very much in common. Their banks just aren’t lending to private individuals and let alone businesses. “Why not?” I hear you ask! It’s simple: the banks have better things to do with the Quantitative Easing that they have kindly agreed to take on; a lot better than giving it to the businesses. Heaven forbid, they might actually do something and earn a profit from it. There’s, it seems, a finite amount of profit in this world that somebody seems to have decreed as the maximum limit. The banks don’t want to let their share of the corporate finance pie go. That’s why. It’s not difficult to grasp; it’s not convoluted and painstakingly hard to get your hear around. The banks just don’t want to in a sultry sulky way, sitting in their corner, playing on their own.

EU

The banks are hoarding in the EU today and even more so ahead of the European Central Bank‘s ‘Stress Tests’. The Stress Test, or the European Central Bank’s Asset Quality Review is probably the biggest event that is going to happen all year long for Mario Draghi. Consumer spending and small and medium-size enterprises have financing that are loan-dependent in the European Union and the Asset Quality Review will (and already is) inevitably having an impact upon that.

Eurozone economic growth has current estimates for next year standing at 1.8%. But, what Draghi wants is to see the opening up of alternative sources of lending to SMEs and private consumers so that the onus doesn’t lie entirely on the banks. But the AQR is based upon figures at the end of 2013 and it was thought that to look good banks would hold back on loans at that time. If the AQR were entirely at fault, then that would have righted itself in the early part of 2014. This is clearly not the case and we are still seeing a fall in the number of loans being made.

The Eurozone lending to the private sector fell yet again in February. Perhaps the banks are partly to blame but who would take out a loan today given the economic situation that the messy EU has gotten itself into? The private sector has got cold feet. Loans to the private sector fell in the most recent data released by 2.2% year-on-year in February. That was after a 2.3% decline in January. The ECB has fixed the level of 4.5%, but it is well below what they would like.

USA

Would you believe it if you were told that the banks are now lending as much as they were in 2007? Would you see the knock-on effects in the USA of such fervent business activity, buzzing around you? But, not only is the Federal Reserve now a little worried that the banks are lending as much as in 2007 (although, please show us the effects if this is true), they still have more cash deposits and reserves than ever. The current dollar amount in banks stands at $10 trillion, which is $2.5 trillion more than being lent out ($7.5 trillion). Back in 2008, with the financial crisis there was a fall-short of $205 billion in favor of loans (exceeding deposits). Corporate borrowing currently stands at $1.7 trillion. February 2013 saw the biggest increase since 2008 in commercial and industrial loans (amounting to $38.3 billion). The banks are still hoarding money from the people that certainly need it in the US economy.

The banks might be seemingly lending, but they are not lending enough and certainly not to private individuals or SMEs. The only ones they are deciding to lend to are the big fish, the blue-chip companies and the industrials, the ones that are benefitting already from the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative-Easing money on the stock market.

The etymology of ‘to lend’ is an old Norse word that meant ‘to give as a gift’ or ‘to let have’. I can’t see anyone letting anyone outside of the banking circles have anything these days. Well, just like the Norse Viking settlers in Greenland, gorging themselves on seals and disappearing from the face of the Earth, the banks too will be in for a vanishing trick one day, because they will have been making pigs of themselves and gluttonously stuffing their bellies with a great big stash of Federal Reserve cash. Let’s hope that 500 years after their disappearance someone digs up something from an excavation that leads them to the real reason why the banksters vanished from the planet. No wonder the economy looks as if it has a face like a smacked butt these days, is it really?

Originally posted: USA and EU: Banks Just Not Lending

 


    



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Martin Armstrong Warns Of 2016 Constitutional Convention

Via Armstrong Economics,

A very interesting political development has taken place, but you can bet the Democrats will fight tooth-and-nail to prevent it. This week the state legislature of Michigan became the 34th state to demand a “Constitutional Convention” in the United States.  Pursuant to Article 5 of the US Constitution, if 2/3rds of the states call for such a convention, (meaning 34 states)  it MUST take place. We will see if this is actually honored. At the very least, there is no time requirement so this could be dragged out for years.

Nevertheless, in such a convention, the ENTIRE Constitution is subject to review and can be altered and changed. This could be everything from installing “social justice” to the dissolution of the federal government. Everything is on the table as if we were back in 1776 Philadelphia.

This is an unprecedented event to amend the U.S. Constitution emerging from the states. Normally, Congress proposes a bill to amend the Constitution as was the case with income tax. Keep this one on your radar – we are looking at the potential for real change good or bad.


    



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NASA Breaking Ties With Russian Space Agency, Frames Choice as Between ‘Fully Funding’ NASA Program or Sending ‘Millions of Dollars to the Russians’

наличные деньгиThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration
[NASA] wants to end its “reluctant
co-dependence
” with the Russian space agency Roscosmos, because
of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Yesterday The Verge

reported
, based on an internal memo, that NASA had suspended
all contact with Russian government officials but that operations
surrounding the International Space Station [ISS] were excepted.
NASA then issued a statement confirming the suspensions,
reiterating its intention to continue cooperating on the ISS, and
adding a pitch for the Obama administration. Via Google
Plus:

NASA is laser focused on a plan to return human
spaceflight launches to American soil, and end our reliance on
Russia to get into space.  This has been a top priority of the
Obama Administration’s for the past five years, and had our plan
been fully funded, we would have returned American human
spaceflight launches – and the jobs they support – back to the
United States next year.  With the reduced level of funding
approved by Congress, we’re now looking at launching from U.S. soil
in 2017.  The choice here is between fully funding the plan to
bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions
of dollars to the Russians.  It’s that simple.  The Obama
Administration chooses to invest in America – and we are hopeful
that Congress will do the same.

Richard Nixon announced NASA would be working on a space shuttle
system in 1972. With the first flight in 1981, the program was
supposed to operate for 15 years. It was scheduled for a 2010
retirement by George Bush in 2004, but Congress extended funding
for flights through 2011. NASA’s current plan has been to shift to
commercial spacecraft, something Congress has been reluctant
to do
. NASA already relies on commercial spacecraft for

supplying
the ISS—will any company be interested in meeting the
demand for ferrying astronauts to low Earth orbit absent the
subsidies that NASA’s “full funding” provides?

Check out Reason‘s February 2012 space issue here.

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China General Says “War With Japan Increasingly Likely” As Russia Conducts New Army Drill Near Latvia, Estonia

Out of sight, out of mind. That appears to be the status quo on events unfolding in Ukraine, and along the western Russian border for now where, however, things are just as agitated as they have been during the past month. Only this time, not so much next to Ukraine, where the Russian army already has a massive enough military presence to steamroll into the country at a moment’s notice, but up north, in this case in the Pskov region where the Russian ministry of defense reported that a major military drill is taking place, right next to the Estonia and Latvia borders. Just in case the former USSR member states needed to be kept on their toes.

From the ministry:

In the Pskov region with army aviation Western Military District (WEST) and units of the Airborne Troops (VDV) conducted a joint exercise. The event involved two pairs of Mi-8 MTV-5 and MI-24. On the eve of the crews flew from Leningrad Oblast to the airfield Crosses.

 

The exercise pilots helicopters Mi-8 MTV-5 was carried landing personnel of the Airborne air assault way. Crews Mi-24 helicopters provide cover paratroopers from the air, as well as work out the elements of combat maneuvering and hovering over the point.

 

Teaching is planned character and end the use of rocket-bomb armament helicopters on land targets on the ground in the Pskov region.

Hopefully land targets on the Russian side of the border.

And just in case escalating tensions along Russia’s western border – and one can be certain Estonia and Latvia will scream bloody murder any second – here is a retired Chinese general who just told SCMP that a “war with Japan over territorial disputes is becoming increasingly likely” and that China is more than capable of defending itself.

From SCMP:

A retired People’s Liberation Army senior officer says a war with Japan over territorial disputes is becoming increasingly likely and that China is more than capable of defending itself. Other military experts are not convinced the PLA would win any future conflict, despite China’s military build-up and modernisation.

 

Some cite the PLA’s lack of battle experience as well as technological weaknesses in certain areas, aircraft engines for example, that could hinder the PLA’s fighting capability.

 

China and Japan moved closer to armed conflict after Beijing established its first air defence identification zone last November in the East China Sea to include the disputed Diaoyu islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, Major General Luo Yuan said.

 

“China should remain in a high state of vigilance because Japan has a history of manufacturing small incidents to trigger military conflict,” Luo said.

 

Luo, a vice-president of a Beijing-based think tank of retired military officers, the China Strategy Culture Promotion Association, dismissed suggestions in some Japanese media reports that the country had air combat superiority because its pilots and crews had greater experience and training.

 

“That conclusion is a deceptive tactic used by Japan to confuse the public,” he said. The PLA has deployed its most advanced aircraft and logistical support to military bases along China’s southeast coast, a move designed to show that the army is prepared for any military conflict in the area.

 

“So far, all aircraft sent by both countries to the Diaoyu waters have been third-generation fighter jets. The PLA’s newest and most advanced planes entered service at the turn of this century, including the J-10, J-11B and the [Russian-made] Su-27,” said Luo.

 

“In contrast, Japan has deployed to the region only about 30 F-15Js, which their air force has used since the 1980s.”

 

Luo declined to say how many fighter jets the PLA would mobilise in an armed conflict. He said China had an overwhelming advantage in the number and types of aircraft available.

 

“China has several military airports along the southeast coast that could provide effective logistical support to PLA fighter jets because those air force bases are much closer to the Diaoyus,” he said.

 

“But in Japan, there is just one airport close to the Diaoyus: Naha airport in Okinawa.”

While it is quite clear, what is most disturbing about this story is just how much thought has gone into this analysis:

Canada-based magazine Kanwa Asian Defence said the PLA’s missile strategic force had deployed its S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile batteries at bases in Fujian since 2012.

 

Ni Lexiong , director of a defence policy research centre at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said he was not convinced the PLA would have the upper hand in any conflict.

 

“It’s a fact that China’s logistical support near the Diaoyus is better than Japan’s because military bases in Fujian and Zhejiang province have been ready for war with Taiwan since the 1950s,” he said. “But we shouldn’t ignore the Americans, who would play a decisive role in any armed conflict between China and Japan.”

 

Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said that if hostilities did break out with Japan, all military bases and facilities on land and sea would be targets for bombing.

“China has more fighter jets than Japan, but one Japanese pilot is probably equivalent to at least three PLA pilots due to their intensive training and joint drills with the US air force,” he said.

And the bigest question mark: does China believe the US would step in to defend Japan? “Luo argued the US would not intervene in any conflict.

If China indeed believes this, then the probability of an armed conflict with Japan over whatever pretext, is far higher than the experts – ostensibly the same experts who said the probability of Russia annexing Crimea is non-existant – believe.

Finally, those wondering how to hedge a possible war between China and Japan, it should be quite clear that in a world in which the idiot market is governed by HFT algos which take any flashing red headline, even if it says *TOKYO BOMBED, ABE SAYS DEFLATION AMONG THE RUINS, and trade it as bullish, ramp stocks to record highs, and where central planning has made a terminal mockery of price discovery, the best and only strategy is to buy deep out of the money calls just in case World War III does indeed break out.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/Por8I5 Tyler Durden