March 16, 2014

Bits Bucket for March 16, 2014

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.




RSS feed

154 Comments »

Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 07:33:34

Posted: 4:00 p.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014

Palm Beach County home prices up, but investors still buying

By Kimberly Miller

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Double digit price gains on single-family homes last year were supposed to drive investors out of the real estate market, but Wall Street’s spending spree continues in Palm Beach County where one corporate giant has picked up 200 homes since Jan. 1.

The Blackstone Group, which buys and rents through its Dallas-based Invitation Homes, owns an estimated 1,200 Palm Beach County homes, according to property records, and is filing deeds at a rate of up to 18 a day.

Read the complete story on the all-new MyPalmBeachPost.com »

 
Comment by Ol'Bubba
2014-03-16 07:35:40

Well, someone has to read that newspaper and drink that pot of coffee.

 
Comment by taxpayers
2014-03-16 07:36:01

attending any meetings on re taxes? I live in a governmentarian oblast and the pitch forks are out. County wanted an 8.5% gab. Not going to happen.

Comment by scdave
2014-03-16 07:47:10

County wanted an 8.5% gab. Not going to happen ??

Welcome to Pre-1979 California…

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 08:02:57

How are your county workers going to get their fat pensions then?

 
Comment by Blackhawk
2014-03-16 08:23:06

That’s nothing. The Chicago mayor is threatening to double property taxes in order to pay a pension liability balloon paymentdue in 2015.

Like the politicians could actually save up for it.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2014-03-16 09:31:20

It is only going to get worse, if the Fed cannot keep inflating the stock market. The pensions are going broke assuming an 8% return on the investments, plug in a reasonable number and they are all zombies about to the eat the flesh of taxpayers.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-16 10:02:33

Soon, no one will be left in Chicago that is not a public employee.

I think Chicago SHOULD double the property taxes. That way, those getting outrageous pensions for 25+ years will be subsidizing themselves.

Everyone else will have left the town and the state. I know of about 30 people who have fled Illinois.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by Skroodle
2014-03-16 10:07:50

Chicago should sell off the rest of their streets to those Middle East investors.

 
 
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 09:11:20

attending any meetings on re taxes?

Don’t need to. My RE taxes are lower than they were 15 years ago.

Got TABOR?

Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-16 09:29:40

Don’t need to.

The Denver area is in a serious bubble. Houses are way out of reach for most save California locusts. Subsequently, LOTS of tax revenues for Colorado even under TABOR.

Got Indiana?

Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 10:26:40

Subsequently, LOTS of tax revenues for Colorado even under TABOR.

You don’t understand how TABOR works. It caps spending. Taxes collected in excess of the cap have to be refunded. My house is currently assessed at 50% more than the original purchase price and yet I’m paying less property tax now than when we bought it.

State legislatures across the country fear TABOR, which is why they have fought its expansion tooth and nail.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 10:43:31

Denver is bubbly but property taxes are relatively low. And your property tax bill won’t increase just because your assessment went up, thanks to TABOR.

The local Dems hate TABOR, and are always challenging it in court, and they always lose.

Taxpayers can vote for exemptions from TABOR, but they rarely pass. For example, in my little burg there was a proposal that would have added $100 a year to the average property tax bill, to fund school infrastructure improvements. It didn’t even get 1/3 of the votes for yes.

Don’t let Colorado’s “pot head/skier” image fool you. Coloradans are stingy with tax dollars, even those who light up a bong.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-16 11:06:12

Yet they aren’t stingy in anything else, are they? LOTS of big money floating around Colorado these days.

Tell me. Who gets to swim among all that big money? Do the young and the middle class? Or do they just get to subsidize the lifestyles of others via higher rents and higher mortgage payments? Such a deal!

Colorado sounds more like California than you think. California put in all sorts of laws (”propositions”) that screwed younger generations by preserving established wealth.

‘Tis a shame the Colorado newborns will have to leave the state as they reach adulthood. The parents get to enjoy the wealth and the exclusivity. The kids either get to leave or clean up the mess.

 
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 11:23:40

California only has prop 13, which only caps property taxes. TABOR caps everything.

Colorado spending per capita is one of the lowest in the country, and that is thanks to TABOR. This gives the Dems conniptions, too bad.

The kids either get to leave or clean up the mess.

What mess? Our per gov’t capita spending is on par with places like Texas. Muni employees (except cops and firefighters) here don’t get pensions. You make it sound like we’re California or Illinois.

 
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 11:28:40

Yet they aren’t stingy in anything else, are they? LOTS of big money floating around Colorado these days.

Would you mind clarifying what you mean by that?

 
 
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 10:48:08

Subsequently, LOTS of tax revenues for Colorado even under TABOR.

Which have to be refunded if the cap is exceeded. And the cap is indexed to population growth and inflation. And any tax increase that would exceed the cap has to be approved by voters, meaning it never happens.

Just because a house here appreciates doesn’t mean that its property tax bill will increase. I know, it’s hard to believe, but that’s how it works here.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-16 11:33:40

It’s not at all hard to believe.

What is hard to believe is how few understand that someone will be paying for what those who already have theirs don’t have to pay for.

No wonder Colorado is morphing into the land of elitists.

P.S. What mess? How about the mess presented to the masses when housing prices jump 50-100% in a few years? Does it not occur to you that rapidly appreciating housing prices (including rent) represents a real problem?

Nah. Why not? Because you have yours.

 
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 11:53:56

Other than in key communities like Boulder or Broomfield, housing here isn’t California priced. The median price for a house here is about 230K.

Plus, as we all know here, bubble 2.0 will pop and prices, even in Broomfield, will come back down.

And no, I don’t have “mine”. I live in Loveland, where prices are much, much lower.

 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 16:35:32

relative to incomes, it’s no different than CA.

 
 
Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 11:43:15

But Colorado is paying lower taxes than 15 years ago.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 11:55:28

Correct. We were paying $2200 in 1999, now we’re paying $1900, even though our house appreciated.

 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 16:29:45

What are your losses overall?

 
 
Comment by real journalists
2014-03-16 13:58:54

60 degrees and sunny here today. The gentrification yuppies are out in full force pushing strollers, walking dogs, riding $5000 bicycles.

In the nearly four years I’ve been in this neighborhood it has gone from predominantly white and Hispanic working class (with some students and hipsters) to become much younger and more white.

Somebody is buying all those houses priced at $200+ per square foot.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by El Bubba
2014-03-16 16:20:07

Donde esta, real journalist?

 
Comment by real journalists
2014-03-16 18:06:12

South Denver, homie.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-16 07:44:43

The Sydney Morning Herald
China makes moves to cover economic cracks
Date March 17, 2014
Philip Wen
China correspondent for Fairfax Media
Premier Li Keqiang says the government will no longer fuel the economy. Photo: Getty Images

For a leader of a one-party state with no votes to be won, Li Keqiang has shown a distinctly populist approach to politics.

Sounding all the right notes during the tightly stage-managed National People’s Congress last week, the Chinese Premier declared that the days of the world’s second-largest economy pursuing growth at all costs had been and gone.

Economic development, he said, should be targeted to improve people’s livelihoods, provide jobs, and increase household incomes. More care should be taken to protect China’s ravaged environment. He declared ”war” on pollution, arguably the No. 1 gripe among the masses.

The government pumped trillions of yuan into the economy during the global financial crisis, fuelling the state-sanctioned construction of properties, government buildings, and endless kilometres of roads and high-speed railway lines.

But as the government now tries to unwind this unsustainable model of growth, cracks are appearing. And nowhere is it more apparent than in the steel sector, where loss-making steel mills that were subsidised to keep producing, are now struggling to repay their mounting debts.

The construction boom had fuelled chronic overcapacity in the steel industry - easy credit meant uneconomic steel mills were effectively subsidised to keep producing at a loss.

The signal is now that smaller companies will be left to their own devices. Haixin Steel, a privately owned mill in Shanxi, the heart of China’s coal country, became one of the first confirmed reports of a steel mill debt default.

Analysts have feared that such defaults could trigger investor panic and prompt the Chinese equivalent of a Lehman-style cascading domino effect in the country’s debt-dependent economy. Those fears had in part contributed to the sharp ”flash crash” in iron ore prices this month.

But Li deflected such fears, saying he was confident these ”hardly avoidable” defaults could be effectively quarantined and stopped from metastasing into ”regional or systemic” problems. He also was at pains to insist that China would not resort to financial stimulus to meet its aspirational growth target of ”about 7.5 per cent”.

But for years, China’s economy has become accustomed to huge amounts of cash being circulated, feeding the construction of jaw-dropping mega-projects across the country.

Beyond the infamous ”ghost towns” there are countless more mundane examples of over-capacity in property markets, rows of high-rise apartments sitting empty in third and fourth-tier cities.

Property speculation has caused property prices to spike, incidentally making Australian real estate appear like a comparative bargain in the eyes of mainland investors.

Without stimulus, and with the further tightening of credit, the concern is that the banks will become less willing to fund these gung-ho property developments, and construction will slow. Like steel mills, small property developers may encounter financial stress, and property-backed wealth management products may also come under fire. Steel demand will be impacted on, further stretching the embattled sector - and iron ore prices.

Therein lies Li’s toughest conundrum. There are entire towns that rely on the health of property construction and steel mills for employment.

It is simple enough to assert that China won’t need fiscal stimulus to maintain economic growth and keep Chinese in jobs - the equation on the ground points to a tougher reality.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 11:45:49

Good. I really hope that China can become a modern nation, with first-world standards all around. If they do that, then the threat of offshoring to China will go away.

Comment by oxide
2014-03-16 12:18:34

Offshoring won’t go “away.” There are plenty of other second-world countries willing to serf-labor for a pittance.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 12:57:42

But the threat of offshoring to China will go away, which means the corporate greedheads will have to ramp up somewhere else.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
 
Comment by LolaLOL
2014-03-16 07:46:47

I think the propping up of the stock market has worked to convince many a 50 yr old plus that things will be just fine and they can leave their money in their 401k or whatever investment account and they will be just fine.

Psychologically the fear that accompanied the 2008 dip has been forgotten and faith in ever increasing returns is back.

Comment by taxpayers
2014-03-16 07:49:56

Portugal, Hungary and Argentina- stole everyones 401k
so the gov workers can party on

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 08:05:24

Also from yesterday’s post on BB, in the USA you don’t really own property. You own rights. Well that is not my opinion, it is someone else’s conclusion from another blog.

Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-16 08:18:48

Hence, the battle cry “property rights”, lol. People have no clue what that means, and neither did I, until I read the post from yesterday.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 09:46:50

Good point: “property rights.:)

 
Comment by Skroodle
2014-03-16 10:10:54

In Texas you only own your property until a rich billionaire or the President’s son wants to build a stadium on it or an oil company wants to build a pipeline down the middle.

 
Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-16 10:26:57

Same thing in NYC and this time, The New York Times.

Eminent domain - and, presto! - the Times got what it wanted.

 
Comment by rms
2014-03-16 15:30:30

“…until a rich billionaire or the…”

Are there any poor billionaires?

 
 
Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-16 08:41:05

Bill, if you get a chance, repost that property rights stuff from yesterday, it was REALLY interesting, and so were your comments.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 09:40:13

Okay, done. I also posted the link and message number of the source from the Kitco blog

 
 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-16 12:38:43

“…in the USA you don’t really own property. You own rights.”

This is much bigger than ‘in the USA.’ What you mention here is a historical paradigm shift in the legal definition of property that started with the writings of Jeremy Bentham (15 February 1748 – 6 June 1832).

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by polly
2014-03-16 13:08:22

The idea of not having all the rights naturally associated with property is a heck of a lot older than that. You ever heard the phrase “the King’s deer”?

Anyone on this blog who thinks that the idea of property ownership being a collection of rights is a new thing needs to go back and actually read their middle school history books. Anyone who didn’t know about it in the US has evidently never read a newspaper. Have you never heard of water rights, mineral rights, air rights, public right of way, ground leases, etc?

 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-16 13:30:16

The notion of “the King’s deer” seems more in line with the old definition of property, which had to do with ownership of physical possessions, which could include game, property and wives, among other things. Presumably the “King’s deer” were so named to reflect the King’s ownership thereof: no one other than the King had the right to hunt them.

By contrast, deer in contemporary America are publicly owned and the use rights thereto are legally contestable. Don’t take my word for it; ask a hunter and an environmentalist about whether the hunter has a right to shoot them.

 
Comment by polly
2014-03-16 14:35:17

Except the king’s hunters got to kill the king’s deer while they were on your land. You had no ability to prevent or even negotiate the timing of the hunt. That sounds like a very limited property right to me - one where you had no right to prevent trespass of any kind by a certain group of people or to prevent the king’s property from using your property for food. And that is the least of it. Feudal land holdings were much, much less complete than our current fee simple absolute.

The fact that a bunch of people imagine some ideal of real property ownership that has never existed and then whine about the fact that they don’t have that sort of real property ownership right now is sort of funny.

 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-16 15:10:27

“Except the king’s hunters got to kill the king’s deer while they were on your land. You had no ability to prevent or even negotiate the timing of the hunt.”

Exactly my point: The notion of ‘property rights to hunt the King’s deer on my land’ did not exist in the feudal era. The King owned the deer as physical property and he could have his royal hunters shoot them wherever he damn well chose.

 
Comment by polly
2014-03-16 15:13:50

And if you want to go back further, jubilee years in the Bible negated all sorts of property transactions that had happened in the previous 49 years. Real property rights have always been different than other types of ownership.

 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-17 00:19:34

“And if you want to go back further, jubilee years in the Bible negated all sorts of property transactions that had happened in the previous 49 years.”

Brings to mind one version of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ which always puzzled me as a child:

And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.

 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-17 00:22:21

National “Rolling Jubilee” campaign strives to liberate people from debt
February 24, 2014
By Anna-Claire Bevan
LatinaLista

A group of former Occupy Wall Street activists has abolished nearly $15 million of medical debt as part of a debt cancellation initiative to liberate debtors at random.

Since November 2012, Rolling Jubilee, which is part of the Strike Debt group, has raised $700,000 by crowdsourcing money to buy consumer debt at a discount for “pennies on the dollar”.

“We wanted to expose the illegitimacy of debts we are forced to take on to meet our basic needs,” says Thomas Gokey, a Strike Debt organizer. “We have no moral obligation to pay a debt to an investor we never borrowed from who purchased our debt on average at 4 percent and then claims we owe them 100 percent.”

The original goal was to raise $50,000 and abolish $1 million, but the campaign exceeded expectations. By buying secondary debt in installments, the team has so far spent $400,000 wiping out $14.7 million, and still has another $300,000 to use.

According to Rolling Jubilee, 77.5 percent of all American households are in debt and 62 percent of all bankruptcies are caused by medical illness.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 08:08:34

The “progressives” will steal 401ks and IRAs long before they go door to door to grab the paltry amounts of gold.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 08:22:16

‘The “progressives” will steal 401ks and IRAs long before they go door to door to grab the paltry amounts of gold.’

What happens when all the money in the world will not solve problems though?

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 09:44:53

AB, for that I refer you to Maggie Thatcher: Socialism works until it runs out of other people’s money. IOW we return to real property rights, the capitalism of the level the USA experienced between 1871 and 1913. And the high GDP that automatically comes with it.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-16 09:53:44

Recall the incredible amount of progress made during those 42 years, Bill.

Ever see those documentaries about the year 1900 and what people living then thought about their rapidly improving conditions? How about 1893 and the Chicago World’s Fair?

 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 10:02:34

Bill, the GDP of the late 19th century was based on post-Little House on the Prairie economics and pre-Waltons technology. And yet we still struggle how to spend our time on this planet. Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.

 
Comment by Skroodle
2014-03-16 10:13:26

Capitalism works great until you run out of Chinese money.

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-03-16 20:28:18

Lots of data out there ( I love the anarchy of internet) and no time to pick it through. But coincidentally here is a link about the tariff’s USA depended on (in lieu of income taxes) 1870 to 1913:

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/phd_students/yyoon/jobmarket3.pdf

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-03-16 20:34:29

Oh my Gremlin (OMG): Here is one early glaring paragraph in the link to the pdf I just posted at www2 dot warwick dot ac dot uk slash fac slash soc slash economics slash staff slash phd_slash students slash yyoon slash jobmarket3.pdf :
1 Introduction
Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the U.S. maintained high
tari rates on manufacturing imports, averaging about 33%. This period of high
protectionism is associated with the rapid economic growth, especially the development
of its industrial or manufacturing sector. According to Bairoch (1982), the U.S. share
of world manufacturing production in 1860 was only 7.2% but its share surged to 32.0%
in 1913. This correlation between growth and hig”h tari s has often been used as a
historical justi cation for protective trade policies by politicians, scholars and other
prominent gures.
1
However others argue that the tari s mattered far less for U.S.
economic development.”

Glaring: US manufacturing production in the world was 7.2% in 1860 when the USA government went crazy statist and implemented income tax on the wealth. But surged to 32% in 1913 just before the income tax was forced upon us by the 1913 version of Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Bahbwwa Streisand/Piers Morgan/McShame/Nixon bunch.

 
 
 
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 09:20:02

The “progressives” will steal 401ks and IRAs long before they go door to door to grab the paltry amounts of gold.

Methinks the Banksters won’t be too keen on that. Clinton floated that idea (a “one time” 10% grab). Wall St. said “no” and that was the end of that.

You can stash your cash where the 0.1% stash theirs: Switzerland, the Caymans, etc. Of course, you’ll probably need a non US Passport to open the account.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 10:07:38

‘ou can stash your cash where the 0.1% stash theirs: Switzerland, the Caymans, etc. Of course, you’ll probably need a non US Passport to open the account.’

They have an interesting dilemma. They can not just stash the money in Hefty bags and be done with it. Not that I weep for them, but they are joined at the hip with assets having to do something other than sit there. Somebody needs to loan those assets out or use them to feed armies or make things. I guess they try their best to mask who owns what so common knowledge is nilch about it.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 10:34:50

I agree, banksters have to lend to make money, and there is always the potential that they could get stiffed. But that is not the same as having your savings confiscated.

 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 11:08:34

My grand theory is that the cash flow is not so great. I could live like Stanley and be up to my eyeballs in debt if I had a way of keeping the revenue coming in and going to creditors. The velocity of money sucks too.

 
 
 
 
Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 11:49:25

Yeah, it seems like people gain more and more faith with each bubble. You would think it would be the other way around.

But hey, retirees can’t live off the returns they get from bonds, so they have to leave it in the stock market. They can’t manage the funds themselves, so they rely on an “expert” to manage the target-date mutual fund, which is “safe”. I doubt most of the 50+ crowd even realizes that most of their nest egg is sitting in high-risk stocks right now.

 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-16 12:34:55

“Psychologically the fear that accompanied the 2008 dip has been forgotten and faith in ever increasing returns is back.”

In other words, the sheep are ripe for sheering again.

 
 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 08:10:35

Wheel of Bubble

The category is Robo signing

V _ _ t _ m

I’d like to buy a vowel.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 11:58:35

Is there an “r”?

Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 12:10:52

Is there an “r”?

Bzzzzz

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 12:20:35

Is there a “c”?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 13:57:13

Yes there is a “c” but your next spin landed on “Foreclosed” so you lose your turn.

V _ ct _ m

 
 
Comment by oxide
2014-03-16 12:24:05

I’ll buy “i.” One for each of Vanna’s tracts of land.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 13:51:06

Silly Mz. Craterton.

 
 
 
 
Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 12:48:08

I’d like to solve the puzzle.

It is “victim”.

Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 13:41:44

“I’d like to solve the puzzle.”

“It is “victim”.”

I am sorry but it wasn’t your turn and blurting out the answer disqualifies you from the studio filled with glamorous merchandise. Fabulous and exciting bonus prizes. Thousands of dollars in cash. Over $150,000 just waiting to be won as we present our big bonanza of cash on Wheel Of Bubble.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 14:52:56

I don’t see the rules written anywhere.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 08:15:36

Wheel of Bubble

The category is Realtors

_ r _ L _ _ r s

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 09:20:19

Wheel Of Misfortune

May I buy an “i” please.

Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 10:03:49

_ r _ L i _ r s

Would you like to spin again or solve the puzzle?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 10:23:28

Sir. I would like to buy another vowel on Wheel Of Misfortune

I would like to buy an ‘a’.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 11:20:35

Wheel of Bubble

The category is Realtors

are Liars

Wheel of Fortune - Bonus Round Music 1 - YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeCDLJsuIRQ - 133k -

 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 12:13:44

Damn!

I should have charged you for an “e”

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-16 08:20:26

What was it Dianne Feinstein about a deep malevolence?

 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 08:41:14

Obama’s Former Foreign Policy Adviser Said – In 1997 – that the U.S. Had to Gain Control of Ukraine

Posted on March 16, 2014 by WashingtonsBlog

The Battle for Ukraine Was Planned in 1997 … Or Earlier

Neoconservatives planned regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa 20 years ago. Robert Parry correctly points out that the Neocons have successfully “weathered the storm” of disdain after their Iraq war fiasco.

But the truth is that Obama has long done his best to try to implement those Neocon plans.

Similarly, ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the U.S. has pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran.

In 1997, Obama’s former foreign affairs adviser, and president Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser – Zbigniew Brzezinski – wrote a book called The Grand Chessboard arguing arguing that the U.S. had to take control of Ukraine (as well as Azerbaijan, South Korea, Turkey and Iran) because they were “critically important geopolitical pivots”.

Regarding Ukraine, Brzezinski said (hat tip Chris Ernesto):

Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.

***

However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.

And now Obama is pushing us into a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and the Crimea.

As Ernesto notes:

Late last year when Ukraine’s now-ousted president Viktor Yanukovych surprisingly canceled plans for Ukrainian integration into the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia, the US may have viewed Ukraine as slipping even further out of its reach.

At that point, with the pieces already in place, the US moved to support the ousting of Yanukovych, as evidenced by the leaked phone conversation between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland [arch-Neocon Robert Kagan's wife] and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. When peaceful protests were not effective in unseating Yanukovych, the violence of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party and Right Sector was embraced, if not supported by the west.

In today’s Ukraine, the US runs the risk of being affiliated with anti-Semitic neo-Nazis, a prospect it probably feels can be controlled via a friendly western media. But even if the risk is high, the US likely views it as necessary given the geopolitical importance of Ukraine, as Brzezinski mapped out in 1997.

In other words, Obama is following the same old playbook that the Neocons have been pushing for more than a decade.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/03/president-obamas-former-foreign-policy-adviser-said-1997-u-s-gain-control-ukraine.html - 65k -

Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-16 08:58:02

“And now Obama is pushing us into a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and the Crimea.”

Not pushing too hard, though. It looks as if he’s shot his wad on that one. Oh, there’ll be some bickering over it for a little while, but it’s pretty much over.

Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 09:21:41

Not pushing too hard, though. It looks as if he’s shot his wad on that one. Oh, there’ll be some bickering over it for a little while, but it’s pretty much over.

It’ll be mostly posturing. Putin’s won this round.

Comment by polly
2014-03-16 13:18:35

“Putin” won this round when the Ukraine gave up its nukes to Russia when the Soviet Union split up. Russia was never going to be satisfied with the Ukraine (breadbasket of the USSR) being entirely independent.

Ukraine was convinced to let them go because NATO feared them being stolen into the middle east more than it feared Russia getting the Ukraine back at some time in the future. It was either get the nukes to a country that probably would want to keep them away from the various middle east players that didn’t already have them, or pay to take care of them ourselves. We picked the former and Russia was the only real candidate. Possibly short sighted, but probably better than the alternative.

The only other possibility was not expanding NATO or the EU to any of the other SSRs or Iron Block countries. That might have left Russia satisfied to leave Ukraine nominally independent forever. Emphasis on might. Europe and the US didn’t do that, so we get what we get.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 08:59:46

Obama national security aides meet to discuss Ukraine
Reuters ^ | 3/15/2014 | Steve Holland

Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2014 7:48:40 PM by Hoodat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama’s national security team discussed the Ukraine crisis in a session at the White House on Saturday after a last-ditch bid to find a diplomatic solution to the Cold War-style standoff with Russia floundered.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who just returned from talks with his Russian counterpart in London, was at the White House meeting along with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Obama did not attend the meeting but was being briefed about it and other developments involving Ukraine, said Laura Lucas Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

Crimea’s pro-Russia parliament has scheduled a referendum on Sunday to decide whether the region should be annexed by Russia, an ominous development that Obama and his national security team have been trying to head off to no avail.

Obama said on Friday he still hopes a diplomatic solution can be found but that the United States and Europe are prepared to impose “consequences” on Russia if it does not loosen its grip on Crimea.

White House deliberations took on a new urgency as . . .

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com …

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3133713/posts - 46k -

Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-16 10:00:11

“Obama did not attend the meeting”
zzzzzzzzzzzz

“Obama said on Friday he still hopes a diplomatic solution can be found but that the United States and Europe are prepared to impose “consequences” on Russia if it does not loosen its grip on Crimea”

In other words, hoping Putin will throw a bone that allows Washington to save a little face, declare victory and move on.

 
Comment by the zima guy
2014-03-16 11:34:22

I am glad Obama didn’t attend the meeting. What’s worse is pretending that he could have done something about it. Obama understands US can’t do jack$hit about….we are a weak and corrupt nation and nobody takes us seriously. It would be wise for neocons to come to the same conclusion.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 11:47:05

In Europe and America there’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mister Krushchev said, ‘We will bury you’
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It’d be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy
From Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?
There is no monopoly on common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent to put
Words in the mouth of the president
There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
Mister Reagan says ‘We will protect you’
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me and you
Is if the Russians love their children too

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by polly
2014-03-16 13:20:02

That was a fantastic album. Every last bit of it.

 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 13:32:32

Thank you for the idea about it. I will see if I can find it on YT.

 
Comment by polly
2014-03-16 14:39:43

You can get the CD of Dream of the Blue Turtles for less than a buck (plus about $4 shipping) on Amazon too.

 
 
 
 
Comment by MacBeth
2014-03-16 09:33:20

“But the truth is that Obama has long done his best to try to implement those Neocon plans.

Yep. On all matters Ukraine and seemingly everything else, too.

The NeoCon-Progressive Party is not interested in the liberty of individuals. That much already has been established.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 10:30:46

I wonder why so often people draw distinctions between these two parties. Their goals are the same. The methodology varies slightly and the rhetoric of each merely provides cover as a means to an end. The end? More GovCorp, more war, more transfer of wealth from individuals to entrenched interests and power structures. If the last four a$$hole presidents doesn’t prove that, you’re hopelessly and permanently blind.

So you’re gonna vote for ____? BFD. Enjoy.

Comment by the zima guy
2014-03-16 11:20:25

Raygun wasn’t better either.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 09:23:48

Repost from last night:

Interesting post on Kitco forum. Says if you think you really own real estate, you are wrong. It is not about you paying rent to the government in the form of property taxes. It is about rights…

 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 566

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratzfinger
You can never own peoperty in the system we have. Simply put, ‘all property is theft’.

You can ‘think’ that you own it, you can profit from that thought, you might even bring service to others in the form of tennants while profiting from that thought, but its not real.

You cannot own property in the system we have.

[Below a reply by George West:]

This is a correct statement. I am a real estate expert and I have done expert witness work at all levels of state and federal courts, even tax and criminal cases. I have dealt with this issue from the witness stand in an IRS case.

Here in the US, real estate ownership is merely the ownership of rights. Its known as the bundle-of-rights theory of ownership. People would revolt if they only know that they buy, sell, mortgage, lease, rent, insure, pay interest upon, and pay many taxes upon rights and only rights. Stated another way, any attribute of real estate that you can touch or feel can’t be owned. So who owns the physical aspects of land and everything attached to it? The US federal government. Our government is in really big debt that, by design, can’t be paid off. So the government owns your home, and the banksters have an effective lien on governments assets for debt. This is why you can never own it. The system is designed to fool you into chasing the illusion of ownership with the fruits of your productivity. This is also why banksters inflated housing prices. Its all a form of slavery for those that get fooled by it.

One example I often used is a new front door purchased at the Depot. You buy it and you own it. You put it in the back of your truck and drive it home. You still own it. You put it in your garage and its still your physical property. But the minute you attach it to your home, you just donated it to the federal government because now you only have the rights associated with the door and no physical ownership.

In a tax case in Los Angeles, I had to speak on this subject. The IRS attorney, a foreign woman, asked the judge to silence my fraudulent testimony. The judge (an icon from the DeLorean case) told the attorney my testimony was correct.

There you have it folks. Real estate ownership in the US is a fraudulent enslavement tool for the gullible masses. If you really want to wake up, ownership of stock, absent your possession of the certificate, is just as corrupted. You only own a “securities entitlement”. This allows the broker/clearing agent to borrow against the stock resulting in a lender’s right in a default being senior to the one with the mere security entitlement. They have done a similar attack on ownership of vehicles. In many states, registration is a process where physical ownership is transferred to the state in exchange for registered ownership. True physical ownership of a vehicle is evidenced by a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (AKA: MSO). When you buy a new car, the dealer goes through the DMV and converts the MSO to a registration. You come out with rights of use. And just like the feds with real estate, the states have debt secured with stuff they own.
Last edited by GeorgeWest : 03-14-2014 at 03:24 PM.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 09:33:03

Here is my further comment: This above should be of interest to the bloggers here. It is part of why I am leery about owning a house - a gut feeling that I would really be less free in some way - and the guy with screen name George West put it into meaningful words.

Same deal with cars. The advantage of registration of said car is you get full use of it and can drive it until it no longer is worth anything to its real owner, the government.

From a philosophical perspective, you don’t really own anything in the end. You pass along the rights to your appointed heirs.

In the meantime your life is enrichened by accumulating better rights while you are alive, as they are symbols of your achievement, for one, but also provide you ways to experience more interesting events.

Even realizing this, I would still consider taking art in the charade of “ownership” as long as it is a small fraction of my net worth. This is where my own rule of thumb would apply: never buy a house that is more than one sixth of your net worth. Why I would eventually want a house - to store my stuff, including my leather sofa and chair of course. Not as an investment.

Currently $300,000 is my maximum, but it does not get me anywhere close to the neighborhood in Phoenix that I want to be in.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 10:23:43

Hey, you can rent Gucchi purses, cars, houses, etc. nowadays. If I could ever get to a better place after what I have seen, owning stuff is not freedom. If I had simpler digs, I could move with jobs more and I could take off for a hiking trip more often and not worry about having to stick around and sloppin’ the hogs. The treadmill life I see unfolding for me so far is I work to get money to pay for the things that allow me to go to work.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 11:19:18

There you go.

A few years back some business people in a city I will not name got in serious trouble with the law in a victimless crime case. Felony level. However the statists were upset they could not confiscate the several million dollar luxury home and the Ferarris. All those toys were leased.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 11:31:55

‘However the statists were upset they could not confiscate the several million dollar luxury home and the Ferarris. All those toys were leased.’

Lesson is own nothing in your own name?

 
Comment by In Colorado
2014-03-16 12:00:00

Lesson is own nothing in your own name?

Or keep it hidden and/or offshore in a safe haven.

 
Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 12:09:51

Bitcoin is the modern attempt to make it possible for people to own stuff without government intervention. It turns out to be more difficult than one may think. People have allowed governments to have control over money because that is less costly than having money that is out of control.

 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 12:14:51

‘Or keep it hidden and/or offshore in a safe haven.’

Would we ever hear if those accounts got hacked? Given there is a lotta loot in them, the lock and key must be better than any NSA could get at?

 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 12:18:31

“All those toys were leased.”

Thats right. You don’t see high dollar individuals buying houses. They lease them.

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-03-16 18:22:54

People have allowed governments to have control over money because that is less costly than having money that is out of control.

Stay tuned. Crypto currency will not go away. Competing crypto currencies will happen and the marketplace will pick the winner. It is an anarchy market place that cannot be controlled by government, so the winning world crypto currency be algorithmically clean and the various aspects (anonymity, decentralized origin, for example) will be ingenious.

Crypto currency will eventually undo the state, one-by-one, country-by-country.

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-03-16 18:28:09

Why the government will have to shut down the internet to take down bitcoin

http://kvcd.org/the-currency-solution/cryptocurrencies/why-the-government-will-have-to-shut-down-the-internet-to-take-down-bitcoin/

To cut to the chase, a colleague at work (and I work in the cryptography business) has already created (mined) a few bitcoins on one of his work computers. Any replacement of Bitcoin (should there ever be) will also be decentralized.

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-03-16 18:49:46

Lesson is own nothing in your own name?

Having “things” that may be greatly valued by others is certainly a double edged sword. I know of one instance (heard second hand) of an engineer who realized he was being followed as he was driving his high end Mercedes Benz. He got rid of the MB and replaced it with a mediocre car. The one who followed him went all the way to the gated community in Manhattan Beach where the engineer lived. 24/7 guarded. And did not attempt to go in the gate.

On the same line, government (just another form of criminal class), can easily steal your 401ks, IRAs, brokerage accounts, bank accounts, your house, and your cars.

IRS, for example, can put a lien on your house.

It is good and proper to be an enemy of the state, so long as the state keeps deciding to pretend the constitution is between itself and you.

 
 
 
 
Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 12:03:02

There is no country on Earth where an individual can own land to the extent that the Kitco author desires. The United States probably gives more property rights to individuals than any other country. If you could truly own the land, then you would have your own country. Then you would be on your own trying to defend your own little country from all the invaders.

Bill: There is something beneath the thin veneer of anarchy as a political theory.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 13:26:22

I don’t think that Kitco was desiring real property ownership. He was saying property rights is not ownership. And if you reread what I posted of his, you will see that he regards chasing property rights (like the junior chipmunk Donald Trumps beat their chests about) -as slavery.

HA should have latched onto that paragraph by George West.

“chasing the illusion of ownership with the fruits of your labor is slavery.”

I could never have written it better.

To HA: take that quote and post it first thing on BB Monday morning for Amy the Hoaxster to see!

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 13:36:56

Chasing the illusion of ownership with the fruits of your productivity is slavery.

Beautiful.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 14:54:28

I’m on it.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-03-16 19:20:51

Back to you point Big V, According to The Heritage Foundation’s “Freedom Index,” New Zealand has the highest percentile property rights. The USA is not in the top ten but tied with 8 out of the top ten in property rights at an index value of 90. New Zealand has 95.

Also George West claimed we do and can 100% own things. Take that new screen door example. It is all yours as you drive it from Home Depot. It is yours when you store it in your garage ready to hang. But once you attach it to the house, it is the Federal Government’s.

I own my wine. I own my gold. I own my guns. I own my leather sofas in Phoenix.

I am not so sure about cars - will have to look into what he said - that registration is not “owning.”

As for tax deferred accounts and 401ks, the Cyprus, Argentina, and Poland events showed who really owns those accounts, even though you worked blood, sweat, and tears, and were solely responsible for the entire risk of your investments.

BTW, You would never have heard Obama telling Joe 6 pack “You don’t own it” in regard to the house. It’s a very sensitive issue to J6P.

 
 
 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 09:36:53

See message #59 in link below. It is nice to see wisdom like George West. Lots of points to ponder, no?

https://www.kitcomm.com/showthread.php?t=132070&page=6

Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-16 09:53:45

Bill, thank you. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this. But as I said above, now I understand why the term “property rights” is bandied about so much. It apparently doesn’t mean what people think it means.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 10:34:13

You’re welcome Jose. Perhaps we should look at it this way: we are all renters. The product of one’s mind is what we use to put a roof over our heads (temporarily) and to trade for the use of other things to experience more out of life. We each are trying to accumulate more rights in this world for our own rational self interest.

We don’t want to think of ourselves as “borrowers” because the same line of thought ends in pondering our own deaths.

But we should all focus on the idea of experiencing more out of life. That is the silver lining. Personally I have a lot of reasons to take life seriously a few more years until I consider changing course. But each year I have started following the climate more and more. That is my retirement goal: to stay out of temperatures over 100 as much as possible and sta out in the western U.S. I am in Phoenix this weekend and tend to be here most winter weekends. Last night I went to Roy’s and paid $64 for a couple of drinks, an appetizer, an entree, and dessert. But I like that. Other people would not do such things. That is part of experiencing life.

 
 
Comment by Combotechie
2014-03-16 10:21:51

I think I can successfully make the argument that nobody actually owns anything - what they think they own that are in fact only borrowing.

This “anything” includes one’s own body; One get to use his body while he is alive but the molecules and the elements that makes up his body generally ends up becoming food for something else after he dies.

Comment by Combotechie
2014-03-16 10:26:16

“that are in fact” = “they are in fact”

And since what we are made up of is mostly water that we just happened to borrow while we are alive then if conditions are right most of what we are made up of will just evaporate once we are dead.

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 10:48:23

Yes. But we have to deny this truth in order to focus on enjoying life. There is a balance that must be maintained. For me, in my mid-50s I value having low body fat and having muscles. Trying to stave off the late life beer belly and that takes daily effort and a oot of time. Others prefer being sedentary and aging rapidly in mid life, which is the result of being sedentary. They spend more time on relationships because relationships give meaning to their lives (not mine, for the last several years). What we also have are thinking skills in our own fields.

We also have pride and values in the abstract sense of what we think is right for us. Thinking skills, values, and pride stay with us to the end.

 
 
 
Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 09:53:23

Fed up with the HAMPsters whining about their mortgage payments, Mz. Craterton goes on a shooting spree. The bodies pile up:

http://www.picpaste.com/Stuffed_Hampster.jpg

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 09:55:57

One surviving HAMPster appeals for the public to be on the lookout for a crazed donkey:

http://www.picpaste.com/Zombie_Hampster.jpg

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 09:57:54

Luckily, the last HAMPster was able to snap a pic of his assailant before his escape. The wanted poster is here:

http://www.picpaste.com/Snooty.jpg

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 10:21:55

LOLZ!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 12:17:31

I was thinking about Oly today and then came across this:

http://news.yahoo.com/canadian-fishermen-strike-asian-gold-geoduck-clams-044600930.html

Comment by Carl Morris
2014-03-16 20:17:32

Yeah, I’ve seen them on menus here. And thought about her.

 
 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 13:04:23

Interesting discourse:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/work-employment/2072500-drop-s-stem-what-do-you.html

The one commenter made note of something that probably has a good deal of truth to it. The STEM field is pushed as a good choice for college students as it allows the future employers a large pool of employees to choose from. Which in itself sounds valid and organic. The more subtle thing is that large pools of applicants means that the pay does not have to be stellar and that colleges still can get tuition money from students told that majoring in STEM is a surer thing. Some days I don’t think there is a shortage of people to apply for jobs and industries, I think the pay is not anything outstanding and does little to lure people into newer endeavors.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 13:47:03

Yes the job situation for chemists has been depressed awhile. Big pharma outsourced all its research. Now chem majors are Über drivers.

I have never been in a car driven by a chem phd, but I have been driven in execucar Lincolns driven by different guys who used to have high end tech jobs. One in computers. He would have survived if he was mobile like me.

 
Comment by LolaLOL
2014-03-16 14:00:47

Grit, determination, hard work, focus and perseverance. Those are what need to be pushed in this age of distraction, Facebook and Twitter.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 14:27:51

‘age of distraction’

It’s all about advertising it seems.

 
 
Comment by Carl Morris
2014-03-16 20:21:22

The STEM field is pushed as a good choice for college students as it allows the future employers a large pool of employees to choose from.

And what kids from flyover country may not realize is that most tech work is not done in the traditional American/European way any more…as a craftsman in charge if their own destiny. It’s done in the Asian/Silicon Valley way…which is 24×7, frantically, with no thought that any of your time is your own.

Comment by aNYCdj
2014-03-17 06:30:57

Carl:

which means having a family and buying a house is so 20th century….

Kinda hard to commit to anything long term if you are on a per job basis.

 
 
 
Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-16 13:06:01

Crimea shows the way. LOL, what if sections of the US started voting to join different countries? I could see it happening in parts of the southwest, which is becoming ethnically Mexican. They could vote to join Mexico, for example. Maybe parts of California that are heavily Asian vote to join China.

Maybe other parts of the US start voting to join countries like Switzerland, etc. Anyway I guess it’s theoretically possible, especially as the gov professes to love “democracy”. That would indeed be democracy.

Maybe the gov wants to re-think immigration policy as it is currently practiced, you know, such as non-assimilation, publishing materials in different languages, etc.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 13:36:28

‘Maybe other parts of the US start voting to join countries like Switzerland, etc.’

The Alex Jones part of me says that we never fully left Britain’s grip. Which raises the point of, why did they have “colonies” well into the 20th century?

Comment by jose canusi
2014-03-16 13:59:28

“The Alex Jones part of me says that we never fully left Britain’s grip.”

HAH! I never needed Alex Jones to convince me of this. I think that Britain has been hiding behind our big skirts for a very long time. And having a jolly old time convincing its citizens that they are the US’s poodle, when it’s the other way around. OTOH, some say Israel is the one that jerks the leash of both the US and the UK.

 
 
 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-16 13:24:43

Banks
Is Russia Pulling Money Out of U.S. for Safekeeping?
By Peter Coy March 14, 2014

There’s circumstantial evidence that Russia may have yanked tens of billions of dollars in assets out of a custodial account at the U.S. Federal Reserve, possibly to keep it from being frozen by U.S. authorities in case of heightened conflict in Ukraine.

The Federal Reserve holds U.S. Treasury securities in custody on behalf of foreign central banks and other official institutions. This chart from Bloomberg shows the sharpest percentage drop in the Fed’s custodial holdings in records going back to 2002. It’s a decline of $105 billion, or 3.5 percent, from March 5 to March 12. (The Fed’s own report is here.)

The Fed doesn’t say who its custodial customers are. I spoke today to Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, who suspects Russia accounts for a big share of the draw-down. “It’s just to avoid being frozen,” Chandler says, not a protest against the U.S. He adds, ”You don’t let your politics dictate these decisions.”

In a note to clients, Chandler wrote, “The logic now is that Russia is bracing for the next round of sanctions.” He pointed out that this has happened before. In 1957, Russia shifted dollars from the U.S. to London, he said, fearing the U.S. would punish Russia financially for its invasion of Hungary. According to some accounts, that event gave birth to what’s known today as the Eurodollar market—dollar-denominated assets stashed outside of U.S. borders.

Bloomberg’s Susanne Walker reports today that Chandler isn’t the only one who sees Russia behind the big decline in Fed custodial holdings. She quotes Wrightson ICAP: “Escalating talk of sanctions over the Ukraine conflict would give [Russia] every reason to move those holdings to an off-shore custodian.”

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 13:41:11

‘This chart from Bloomberg shows the sharpest percentage drop in the Fed’s custodial holdings in records going back to 2002. It’s a decline of $105 billion, or 3.5 percent, from March 5 to March 12. (The Fed’s own report is here.)’

Did the Russians just cash the bonds out or is it simple transfer of them to another CB?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-16 15:12:53

My quick read of recent MSM articles on this suggest the latter; i.e. Russia has moved the bonds to where the U.S. cannot put a hold on them, but hasn’t cashed out. Not clear to what extent this is fact versus conjecture…

 
 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 13:44:26

woops, rest of article answers my question:

“Chandler suspects that Russia didn’t sell the Treasuries, but only moved them somewhere out of U.S. authorities’ reach. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, as of December, Russia held $139 billion in Treasuries, making it the ninth-largest country holder, accounting for about 1 percent of the total.”

 
 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 14:03:30

Wheel of Bubble

The category is people who bought in 2006 with 20% down and are still paying their 30 year mortgage.

u _ _ _ _w _ _ _r

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-03-16 14:55:44

Is there an “n”?

Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 15:23:36

un _ _ _w _ _ _r

Would you like to spin again or solve the puzzle?

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME"
2014-03-16 17:15:54

I would like to spin again.

(spins)

Is there a “d”?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 14:51:48

“We would be paying to see patients, and we just couldn’t afford to do that,” said Dr. Karl Van Gundy”

“If it has a little Covered California sticker on it, and you take it to the doctor’s office, they almost throw it back at you,”

March 16, 2014

Some Fresno doctors rejecting Affordable Care plans

By Barbara Anderson, The Fresno Bee
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

March 16–Some central San Joaquin Valley residents who have enrolled in Affordable Care Act health plans are finding their doctors don’t accept their new insurance cards.

Patients thought their health providers were participating in specific plans because their names appeared on lists that Covered California, the state’s health benefit exchange, made available on its website.

But the lists were filled with errors, so Covered California took them off-line last month. And insurance plans have acknowledged their lists are not always up to date.

The snag with health providers mostly has affected people in the Valley who bought Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield preferred provider organization (PPO) plans through Covered California. PPO plans allow patients to self-refer to specialists. Patients who bought Kaiser Permanente plans are not affected because Kaiser doctors are all in-house.

Some of the biggest doctor groups in Fresno have opted not to participate in plans offered through the state exchange, saying the reimbursement is too low. Health plans counter that they’ve tried to keep costs down and that doctors stand to gain from an expanded patient case load.

Stuck in the middle: Consumers, many of whom have paid large premiums for health plans they thought offered a wider choice of providers. They now must choose between finding new plans or having to find new doctors who are accepting patients covered by Anthem Blue Cross or Blue Shield PPOs.

And it could be difficult finding doctors.

The 160-doctor Central California Faculty Medical Group — one of the largest private physician groups in Fresno — decided not to accept patients with PPO plans through Covered California.

“We would be paying to see patients, and we just couldn’t afford to do that,” said Dr. Karl Van Gundy, a pulmonologist and president of the board of directors for the group, which is affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco-Fresno Medical Education Program.

The group is a safety-net provider, and Van Gundy noted that “this is really bothering us a lot that we aren’t being able to provide this service.”

Changing plans

For some consumers, keeping their doctors is a priority. They are dropping Covered California plans and turning to the individual marketplace for coverage. Others are switching plans within Covered California.

Sharon Wilson, 60, of Visalia, thought she had found a good deal with an Anthem Blue Cross plan that cost her about $200 a month after a government subsidy. But she wound up in tears when she learned her doctors wouldn’t take her new insurance card.

“If it has a little Covered California sticker on it, and you take it to the doctor’s office, they almost throw it back at you,” she said.

Wilson, a retired office manager, terminated the policy and bought a Blue Shield plan on the individual marketplace. She is paying $700 a month for the coverage. Her doctor said he would accept the plan — this year — but not next. “He didn’t opt out of it in time this year,” Wilson said.

Doctors who are not participating in plans through the exchange also are not participating in comparable plans sold in the private, individual marketplace.

But it’s been a struggle getting word out to consumers that there is no difference in the providers for a private PPO plan and the equivalent plan through Covered California.

At the six-physician Spruce Multispecialty Group in Fresno, doctors do not accept any Anthem or Blue Shield PPO plan, whether or not it’s Covered California, said office supervisor Barbara Cordova.

“Patients are not aware that they’re paying more money and they have a limited network now, a limited formulary and less benefits,” Cordova said.

 
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-03-16 15:16:04

March 11, 2014, 8:31 a.m. EDT
Five reasons why stocks will fall
Commentary: Equities are always a two-way street
By Irwin Kellner, MarketWatch

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (MarketWatch) — Last week I told you that the skyscraper indicator has flashed a sell signal. Since many readers were skeptical of this conclusion, I now present five more reasons to lighten your exposure to stocks.

First a reminder: The sign on Wall Street that reads one way applies only to motor vehicles — not to the stock market. For equities, it is definitely a two-way street, and the market seems poised to make a U-turn.

This change in direction is contrary to what passes for the conventional wisdom in the Street of Dreams. Most of the time, most investors think that stocks can only go in one direction: up.

If you don’t believe me, ask your broker or your favorite analyst. These folks make a living based on your buying stocks. And let’s face it, you wouldn’t be buying stocks if you didn’t think that their prices would rise.

All that said, here are five reasons why stocks are more likely to fall than to rise over the near term.

The first reason is that most stocks have gone up an awful lot over the past five years. From its low point exactly five years ago this week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.27% is now a whopping 2-1/2 times higher.

In this environment it should be no surprise that many investors and traders have decided to take some money off the table. It’s called profit-taking, and this is reason No. 2.

Reason No. 3 is nerves. The market has been extremely volatile of late, going up a lot one day, and down about as much on the second.

It’s a trader’s market, not one for the faint of heart, a.k.a. the average investor. An increase in volatility usually precedes a drop in stocks, as market participants rush to get out of the way by selling en masse.

The fourth reason is the economy.

In case you didn’t notice, the economy has slowed significantly since the end of last year. And while a good chunk of this slowdown no doubt can be traced to the severe weather experienced by most of the country (see my column), the jury is still out regarding just how temporary this will turn out to be.

The last reason is that perennial fear: geopolitics. In this instance, it is what looks to be a renewal of the Cold War between the United States and Russia.

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-03-16 16:49:56

Ron Paul, now that he left political office is on the verge of calling himself a “voluntaryist.” In a video in 2011 he was telling Neil Cavuto that he likes voluluntaryism and not the use of force.

In this more recent one, Fall of 2013 he again says he believes in voluntaryism, he does not like authoritarianism.

I think over the several decades he has been in office and been spat at for being Mr. No (no to spending on unconstitutional programs), Mr. Paul. probably understood very well the piece of paper has not stopped government from doing unconstitutional things. For instance, the war against drugs is clearly unconstitutional. Government should not prohibit any victimless crimes. It is a violation “of rights” (rights again, yeah).

I am glad I stumbled on this about Dr. Paul. He can be the biggest booster of voluntaryism since Lysander Spooner. A lot of potential. Fly the black and yellow flag!

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-03-16 17:07:11

“Government should not prohibit any victimless crimes.”

It’s not that they prohibit victimless crimes. They prosecute vigorously for these alleged “crimes’ and destroy entire families in the process. They’ve gone into overdrive since 9/11.

 
 
 
Comment by aNYCdj
2014-03-16 17:04:14

How about some levity against the negative backdrop of CRAAATTTTTEEERRRR!!!!!!

http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/18/smallbusiness/big-ass-fans/index.html

 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2014-03-16 18:11:14

Reverse journalism? This is not real journalism:

http://priceonomics.com/on-the-merits-of-publishing-blatantly-wrong/

 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 19:33:35

US rejects Crimea vote, warns Russia of ‘additional costs’.

2 hours ago

Washington (AFP) - The United States strongly rejected Crimea’s vote Sunday on breaking away from Ukraine, hinting at possible additional sanctions on Russia.

In a telephone call, President Barack Obama told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the vote that found 95.5 percent of ballots in favor of the Crimean Peninsula leaving Ukraine to rejoin Russia violated the Ukrainian constitution.

“President Obama emphasized that the Crimean ‘referendum,’ which violates the Ukrainian constitution and occurred under duress of Russian military intervention, would never be recognized by the United States and the international community,” the White House said in a statement.

The vote would mark the most radical redrawing of the map of Europe since Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

Joining international condemnation from other world capitals, Obama warned “Russia’s actions were in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that, in coordination with our European partners, we are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions.”

The Kremlin said earlier that the call was initiated by the American side, as relations between Russia and the United States have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Putin told Obama that the referendum was fully legal, “in line with the norms of international law and the UN charter.”

Ukraine’s new pro-European leaders and the West have branded the referendum “illegal” because the strategic Black Sea region has been under de facto control of Russian forces since the start of the month.

White House spokesman Jay Carney earlier said that Russia had spurned outreach to Ukraine and calls for international monitoring, instead escalating its military intervention into Crimea and initiating military exercises on Ukraine’s eastern border.

He called Russia’s actions “dangerous and destabilizing.”

http://news.yahoo.com/crimea-vote-fully-legal-putin-tells-obama-205817027.html - 226k -

 
Comment by phony scandals
2014-03-16 19:38:35

State TV says Russia could turn US to ‘radioactive ash’

By Stuart Williams (AFP) – 5 hours ago

Moscow — A leading anchor on Russian state television on Sunday described Russia as the only country capable of turning the United States into “radioactive ash”, in an incendiary comment at the height of tensions over the Crimea referendum.

“Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash,” anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said on his weekly news show on state-controlled Rossiya 1 television.

Kiselyov made the comment to support his argument that the United States and President Barack Obama were living in fear of Russia led by President Vladimir Putin amid the Ukraine crisis.

His programme was broadcast as the first exit polls were being published showing an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voting to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

He stood in his studio in front of a gigantic image of a mushroom cloud produced after a nuclear attack, with the words “into radioactive ash”.

“Americans themselves consider Putin to be a stronger leader than Obama,” he added, pointing to opinion polls which then popped up on the screen.

“Why is Obama phoning Putin all the time and talking to him for hours on end?” he asked.

Kiselyov has earned a reputation as one of Russia’s most provocative television news hosts, in particularly with his often blatantly homophobic remarks.

But he is also hugely influential with his weekly news show broadcast at Sunday evening prime time.

Putin last year appointed Kiselyov head of the new Russia Today news agency that is to replace the soon to be liquidated RIA Novosti news agency with the aim of better promoting Russia’s official position.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hn1ZCEVL5tXUtabeyJ7sdbSvdrKg?docId=4a078085-15a4-4fa9-9be2-3db95518078c - -

 
Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2014-03-16 19:54:45

The future is voluntaryism, not the “federation of planets.”

www voluntaryist dot com
http://www.voluntaryist.com

Comment by rms
2014-03-16 20:54:34

…not the “federation of planets.”

The federation’s “non-involvement” clause doesn’t exist either. Nope, in this series it’s the IMF banker’s unrealistic loans rammed up their a** with Carlin’s legendary “red-white-blue” phallus.

 
 
Comment by rms
2014-03-16 20:40:31

Got called out early this morning, and nearly ran-over a young drug addled Latino woman. She crossed the road diagonally without looking either way, and she was performing this weird pantomime rap-style movement. I slowly rolled closer to her, and she heard my car’s engine, and her head swiveled in my direction. Holy chit, her eyes were solid white; no pupils! I guess they were rolled upward. How the heck does someone remain upright like that and walk?

I’m in a dusty 7,000-population town of churches and taverns.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine
2014-03-16 20:58:05

I nearly hit a home boy in industrial Phoenix one night, his skin was dark, his clothes were dark, and he j walked on a dark roadway. He was higher than a kite. I had to get in the middle lane to avoid home boy. In living colour… He was jabbering toward my window as I passed him. He had junk with him. Bags or cart with bags. If I hit him I would have stopped and called the police of course, and 911 for ambulance. But the dude would have then made me a bad weekend because of his idiocy.

 
 
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Trackback responses to this post