Der Point of no Return

der-point-of-no-return

30-10-19 10:36:00,

Das US-Finanzsystem hätte die Krise von 2007/08 nicht überstanden, wenn die FED nicht eingegriffen, ihre Bilanz auf etwa 4,5 Billionen US-Dollar ausgeweitet und den Leitzins mehrmals gesenkt hätte.

Den FED-Verantwortlichen war allerdings klar, dass eine solche Geldpolitik das System auf Dauer zerstören würde. Deshalb haben sie 2015 begonnen, die Zinsen vorsichtig zu erhöhen und die Bilanz der FED zu reduzieren.

Zu spät, wie sich Ende 2018 gezeigt hat: Der Aktienmarkt erlebte seinen schlimmsten Dezember-Einbruch seit 70 Jahren und beruhigte sich erst wieder, nachdem FED-Chef Jerome Powell eine Rückkehr zur lockeren Geldpolitik versprach.

Seine Reaktion machte deutlich, was in den zehn Jahren zuvor passiert war: Die Finanzindustrie war vom billigen Geld abhängig geworden und verlangte wie ein Suchtkranker nach weiteren Injektionen.

Trotz aller öffentlichen Dementis der FED — genau solche Injektionen erleben wir zurzeit im Zusammenhang mit den Interventionen am US-Repo-Markt, und zwar in ungewöhnlich rasch zunehmendem Ausmaß.

Der Repo-Markt ist ein Teil des US-Anleihenmarktes, auf dem sich US-Banken und Hedgefonds bei Bedarf mit frischem Geld versorgen. Repo steht für Repurchase Operation, zu deutsch: Rückkaufgeschäft. Finanzinstitute, die für Transaktionen Geld brauchen, leihen es sich nicht einfach, sondern verkaufen über Nacht Wertpapiere, insbesondere US-Staatsanleihen, um diese am folgenden Tag wieder zurückzukaufen.

Der US-Repo-Markt bewegt sich in einer Größenordnung von etwa 2,2 Billionen Dollar und hat seit den Turbulenzen im Rahmen der Weltfinanzkrise 2007/08 weitgehend reibungslos funktioniert. Wer US-Staatsanleihen hielt und frisches Geld brauchte, konnte es sich durch einen befristeten Verkauf über Nacht besorgen. Umgekehrt konnten die Institute, die über genügend Geld (im Fachjargon „Liquidität“ genannt) verfügten, durch einen befristeten Aufkauf von Staatsanleihen Zinsen kassieren.

Am 16. und 17. September 2019 ist es auf eben diesem Repo-Markt zu heftigen Turbulenzen gekommen. Um negative Auswirkungen auf den Interbankenhandel zu verhindern, griff die FED zum ersten Mal seit 2008 in das Geschehen ein und versorgte das System mit „Liquidität“. Das heißt: Sie trat selbst als Käufer auf und sorgte so für eine Senkung der vorübergehend in die Höhe geschossenen Zinsen sowie einen zunächst reibungslosen weiteren Ablauf der Transaktionen.

Medien, Großbanken und FED verwiesen umgehend darauf, dass es sich um ein technisch bedingtes, kurzfristiges Ungleichgewicht von Angebot und Nachfrage handle, ausgelöst unter anderem durch eine Geldknappheit der Unternehmen auf Grund der am Quartalsende fälligen Steuervorauszahlung und wegen kurz zuvor getätigter umfangreicher Staatsanleihenkäufe.

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A Return To Sound Money: Echoes Of 1929 & The Threat To ‘Unbacked’ Currencies

a-return-to-sound-money-echoes-of-1929-amp-the-threat-to-8216unbacked8217-currencies

19-02-19 08:44:00,

Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com,

In this article I draw attention to the similarities between the current economic situation and that of 1929, and the threat to today’s unbacked currencies. There is the coincidence of trade protectionism with the top of the credit cycle, and there are the inflationary events that preceded it. The principal difference today is in modern macroeconomic delusions, which hold that regulating inflation of money and credit is the solution to all ills. I conclude that economic salvation can only come from ditching today’s macroeconomic theories and by returning to monetary stability through credible gold exchange standards.

Introduction

There is an assumption in economic circles that when the general level of prices changes, it is always due to changes in supply and demand for goods and services. Prices change all the time, but without a change in the public’s preference for or against holding money and with all else being equal, the general level of prices simply cannot change. Changes in the general level of prices are due to changes in the purchasing power of the money, which stems from the public’s preferences for or against it and do not emanate from goods and services.

This may not at first sight appear to matter, but it calls into question the widespread assumption that price changes are only due to changes in supply and demand for goods and services. It is a basic error behind modern monetary theory (MMT), whose supporters are busy reviving Georg Knapp’s Chartalist theories of money, the theories that permitted Bismarck’s inflationary pre-war armament financing and the subsequent collapse of the German currency in 1923. Believers in a divine right for the state to issue currency will not let themselves be distracted by inconvenient facts. MMT followers are only one group of neo-Keynesian inflationists, who are generally blind to the blunders of their revisionist economics.

Instead, they assume that the purchasing power of a state-issued currency is objectively fixed, only varied by changes in its quantity. Preferences for or against money are not in their economic lexicon. They ignore the evidence of hyperinflations, where the loss of purchasing power is never a straight-line affair. A myopic approach allows them to believe their feared deflation can be offset simply by regulating the increase in the quantity of money to ensure price stability,

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Syria and the Road to Return to the Ranks of the Arabs | New Eastern Outlook

syria-and-the-road-to-return-to-the-ranks-of-the-arabs-new-eastern-outlook

18-02-19 07:54:00,

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Two themes have recently attracted the attention of media and social networks in the Middle East. The first is the trend towards a gradual restoration of Arab relations with the Syrian government.

The second is the role of Russia in the region.

The first is indicated by the resumption of the work of the UAE and Bahrain diplomatic missions in Damascus, the opening of official borders with Jordan, the restoration of air links with a number of capitals, etc.

Since the beginning of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic, almost 8 years ago, a number of countries have supplied financial, material and other support for the various opposition groups and intervention attempt in order to overthrow the legitimate power of Damascus. Under pressure from these forces, Syria’s membership in the regional organization – the League of Arab States – was frozen.

And this is despite the fact that Damascus was the initiator and center for decades, bursting with the ideas of pan-Arabism. They were perceived as an instrument for asserting a national community against the challenges of ethno-sectarian disunity by the governments of the states formed in the Middle East.

These ideas have, at various times, served the cause of joint actions to defend the political and economic interests of Arab countries in the region and on the world stage, against the domination of the West, etc.

The events of the crisis in Syria have shown that the intentions of the opponents of Damascus have failed. This is evidenced by the return of government control over its territory and the defeat of terrorist groups, as recognized by prominent Saudi journalist Ahmed Al-Faraj.

At the same time, rocking the boat of the Syrian statehood created a boomerang effect on those who had contributed to it from the outside. Rather than bringing them dividends, it shattered stability, poisoned the atmosphere in the Middle East and increased the fragility of relations between the Arab regimes. The influence of Turkey and Iran has been amplified in the Arab world.

A number of local newspaper headlines sound like a call to speed up Syria’s return to the ranks of the Arabs. “Syria-to Arabs: change and come to Damascus” (Al-Manar),

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Return of the ‘War Room’: Facebook to set up new election integrity centers in Dublin & Singapore

return-of-the-war-room-facebook-to-set-up-new-election-integrity-centers-in-dublin-amp-singapore

28-01-19 03:37:00,

Facebook will set up two new centers to monitor “election integrity,” based in Dublin and Singapore. These centers will tackle fake news and hate speech, and will probably trigger fresh accusations of censorship.

After its hands-off approach to content policing led to accusations of fake news and misinformation in 2016, Facebook dramatically ramped up its content-policing efforts in the run-up to November’s midterm elections in the US. The social media giant partnered up with third-party ‘fact checkers’ to vet news content, trained an AI to spot and remove “false news stories,” introduced transparency rules for political advertisements, and went as far as building a physical “war room” to monitor elections for “foreign interference” in real-time.

Now, the social media giant is taking its aggressive approach worldwide.

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Facebook announced on Monday it will set up two new regional centers, located in its Dublin and Singapore offices. Facebook’s Dublin office is the company’s biggest location outside California.

“These teams will add a layer of defense against fake news, hate speech and voter suppression, and will work cross-functionally with our threat intelligence, data science, engineering, research, community operations, legal and other teams,” read a blog post from Facebook. As well as probing Facebook, the teams will monitor Instagram and WhatsApp for misuse, according to another blog post from the company.

Facebook’s US-based “war room” attracted some media attention in the run-up to the midterm elections in November, but the company itself was tight-lipped on what exactly its staff did to detect malicious foreign activity and election meddling. The company’s head of civic engagement, Samidh Chakrabarti, only said that “we’ve been working with governments around the world, with security experts around the world, with civic society around the world to share information about threats that we see.”

Among the experts consulted by Facebook is the Atlantic Council. NATO’s academic wing, the Atlantic Council teamed up with Facebook last summer to help the social network “expose and explain falsehood online.”

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The Atlantic Council’s digital efforts to date have included poking RT for nonexistent evidence of election meddling,

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Some 9,900 Venezuelans Return Home With Help of Government

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26-11-18 12:35:00,

So far a total of 9,900 Venezuelans have returned to their home country with the Vuelta a la Patria (Return to the Homeland Plan) sponsored by the Nicolas Maduro administration.

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That number was tallied after some 80 Venezuelans flew into the International Airport of Maiquetia Simon Bolivar in Caracas from Bogota, Colombia on Saturday.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza welcomed them back by Twitter saying the citizens “who had left the country looking for new opportunities and only found unemployment, xenophobia, discrimination and labor exploitation. #VueltaALaPatria.”

According to government estimates, 6,663 Venezuelans have come back from Brazil, 1,102 from Peru, 1,014 from Ecuador, 395 returned from Colombia, and 186 from the Dominican Republic. Another 171 have returned to Venezuela from Argentina via the Return to the Homeland Plan. Over 90 came from Chile.

“I have ordered the activation of an airlift based on the Return to the Homeland Plan to bring back all the Venezuelans who have registered and who want to come back to their beloved land. There is a campaign of hatred, persecution, and xenophobic contempt against the people of Venezuela. A global campaign headed by spokespeople of the United States making declarations against the people of Venezuela accusing us of migrating, and creating a scandal,” Maduro said in early September.

The plan, which Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro introduced on Aug. 4, envisions that returning Venezuelans can be reinserted into the life they left with the help of various national social programs. Their return home is paid for by the Maduro administration.

Upon returning home, participants are asked to share their reasons for returning. According to a survey, 60 percent returned home due to economic difficulties, 47 percent were greeted with xenophobia while abroad, and health concerns or unaffordable medical care brought at least 12 percent back to Venezuelan soil.

When another 80 came back home with the help of the Venezuelan government from Colombia in mid-November, Arreaza tweeted then:  “Many testimonies of exploitation and deceptive offers in Colombia.”

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The Return Of The Inquisition: Do You Confess?

The Return Of The Inquisition: Do You Confess?

29-09-18 05:55:00,

Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

In 279 BC, the vast army of King Pyrrhus of Epirus was met by Roman forces at the Battle of Asculum in southern Italy, in what would be one of the costliest military engagements of ancient history.

Pyrrhus fancied himself the second coming of Alexander the Great and believed that he was a descendant of Achilles.

Many of his peers and contemporaries believed Pyrrhus to be the greatest military commander of all time.

His exploits were legendary. And when he set sail for Italy in 280 BC, the Romans did not underestimate him.

The Battle of Asculum was decisive. Pyrrhus actually won the battle; but in defeating the Romans, he lost so many of his men that his army was practically broken.

Pyrrhus purportedly said of his victory, “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined. . .”

This gave rise to the term “Pyrrhic victory,” which refers to a win that’s incredibly costly.

Pyrrhus also tried his hand at diplomacy with Rome, sending one of his ablest statesmen to the capital to negotiate peace with the Roman Senate.

The emissary was not successful. But he reported back to Pyrrhus that Rome’s Senate was incredibly impressive– “an assembly of kings” comprised of its noblest citizens.

And he was right. In the early days when Rome was still a republic, its Senate was a highly revered institution that stood for wisdom, dignity, and virtue.

They were far from perfect. But the men who served in the Senate during the early republic were heavily responsible for building the most advanced civilization the world had ever seen up to that point.

Needless to say, times changed. Within a few hundred years, the Senate had become a corrupt joke, filled with venal criminals, weak sycophants, and mediocre minds.

I couldn’t help but think of this analogy yesterday watching the Inquisition of Brett Kavanaugh.

If you’re living under a rock (or reading this letter many years from now), Brett Kavanaugh has been nominated to serve as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

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Germany: Return Of The Stasi Police State?

Germany: Return Of The Stasi Police State?

26-01-18 10:37:00,

Authored by Judith Bergman via The Gatestone Institute,

  • Germany’s new law requires social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the government. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online “criminal offenses” within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint — regardless of whether the content is accurate or not.
  • Social media platforms now have the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who will speak and what they will say.
  • Notice the ease with which the police chief mentioned that he had filed charges to silence a leading political opponent of the government. That is what authorities do in police states: Through censorship and criminal charges, they silence outspoken critics and political opponents of government policies, such as Beatrix von Storch, who has sharply criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policies.
  • While such policies would doubtless have earned the German authorities many points with the old Stasi regime of East Germany, they more than likely contravene the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) to which Germany is a party, as well as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

Germany’s new censorship law, which has introduced state censorship on social media platforms, came into effect on October 1, 2017. The new law requires social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the German state. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online “criminal offenses” such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint — regardless of whether the content is accurate or not. Social media companies are permitted seven days for more complicated cases. If they fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law.

The new censorship law, however, was not fully enforced until January 1, 2018, in order to give the social media platforms time to prepare for their new role as the privatized thought police of the German state. Social media platforms now have the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who will speak and what they will say.

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A Return to Debtors’ Prisons: Jeff Sessions’ War on the Poor

A Return to Debtors’ Prisons: Jeff Sessions’ War on the Poor

31-12-17 05:09:00,

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens during a news conference at the Justice Department November 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens during a news conference at the Justice Department November 29, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

One day after President Donald Trump invited Republican lawmakers to the White House to celebrate the historic tax cuts they passed for corporations and wealthy business leaders, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, quietly reinstated a draconian policy that effectively serves as a regressive tax on America’s poorest people.

A symbol of Victorian England’s inequitable nature made infamous by Charles Dickens, debtors’ prisons were banned in the United States in 1833. The Supreme Court has affirmed the unconstitutionality of jailing those too poor to pay debts on three different occasion in the last century, finding that the 14th Amendment prohibits incarceration for non-payment of exorbitant court-imposed fines or fees without an assessment of a person’s ability to pay and alternatives for those who cannot. “Punishing a person for his poverty” is illegal, the Court said. Yet in recent years the modern-day equivalent of debtors’ prisons have returned, as cities have grown to rely on a punishing regime of fines and fees imposed on their own residents as a major stream of revenue.

Routine traffic tickets or even overdue student loan payments can set off a cycle of debt that also includes the suspension of a driver’s license or professional license and, in some cases, jail time. A suspended driver’s license makes it nearly impossible to get to work. When a person can’t pay, courts add more fines on top of the original. If those fees aren’t paid, a jail sentence is imposed. Incarceration is also often meted out to low-income defendants facing misdemeanor charges who cannot afford to pay bond ahead of a court date.

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