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Brexit – Will The EU Collapse Anyway?

Brexit – Will The EU Collapse Anyway?

Brexit - Will The EU Collapse Anyway?

By TruePublica: It is impossible for anyone who even occasionally visits the news to ignore just how dramatically the world has changed in the last 10 years. The epicentre of the crumbling world order that we have all known was the global financial crisis. It literally shook the foundations of the Western world and the institutions that upheld it – and today they are now falling down one by one. Will the European Union be one of them as its own existential threats continue to mount?

Political systems such as democracy are now known to be failing the world over to some degree or another and all of a sudden, many of us have started to wonder about a world without those structures we took so much for granted. Unfortunately, others have embraced this new found fragility more eagerly than others and with frightening consequences.

It, therefore, should come as little surprise that the past decade has been assessed as a period defined by systemic dysfunction and political change. As we enter the next decade this dysfunction will characterize the momentum of a decade’s worth of disruption and one regional area of change will undoubtedly be the European Union.

There is no point in researching for material in this article with the assistance of the hatemongering MSM rags typified by the likes of the Daily Mail, Express, Telegraph et al. We have looked at many articles, periodicals and predictions – and there has been for some time a growing belief amongst many in the financial and geopolitical environments that the future prospects of the European Union is at best ‘challenging’ but more likely dismal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are Globalists Plotting a Counter-Revolution?

Are Globalists Plotting a Counter-Revolution?

Are Globalists Plotting a Counter-Revolution?

On meeting with the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker last month, Donald Trump tweeted: “Both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would finally be Free Market and Fair Trade.”

Did Larry Kudlow somehow get access to Trump’s phone?

We know not. But, on hearing this, Steve Forbes, Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer broke into the “Hallelujah” chorus of Handel’s “Messiah.”

“Amen,” they thundered in The New York Times.

Trump should declare “total trade disarmament” to be national policy and make free trade his “legacy” to America. Such a proclamation, they wrote, would assure Trump the “moral high ground” in the global debate and transform him from “evil disrupter of international commerce to potential savior.”

For free trade is always and ever a “win-win for trading partners.”

To read the Times op-ed is to appreciate that what we are dealing with here is an ideology, a political religion, a creed, a cult.

For consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years: the frozen wages of U.S. workers, $12 trillion in U.S. trade deficits, 55,000 factories lost, 6 million manufacturing jobs gone, China surpassing the U.S in manufacturing, all causing a backlash that pushed a political novice to the Republican nomination and into the presidency.

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To maintain a belief in the superiority of free trade to economic patriotism, in the face of such results, is to recognize that this belief system is impervious to contradictory proof.

Still, the enduring enthusiasm of free trade zealots is not the only sign that GOP globalists, having learned nothing and forgotten nothing, are looking to a post-Trump era to resurrect their repudiated dogmas.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Warns Allies “Risk Severe Consequences” If They Violate Iran Sanctions

With the hours ticking by ahead of Washington’s re-imposition of a slew of economic sanctions on Iran, President Trump has just released a statement confirming the narrative he would prefer Americans believe.

Just hours after the European Union issued a statement Monday ahead of when renewed US sanctions are set to snap back against Iran after midnight US Eastern time, saying it “deeply regrets” the sanctions and will take immediate action to protect European companies still doing business with Iran.

Trump makes it clear that any violation (among America’s allies) will not be tolerated…

“The Trump Administration intends to fully enforce the sanctions reimposed against Iran, and those who fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences.

The first set of sanctions will hit at the Iranian financial system, including Iranian government purchases of US dollars and its gold trade and government bond sales. The US’ dominant role in the world’s financial system means it has been able to pressure countries and companies into compliance, though China remains a key holdout.

“The JCPOA, a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb,” Trump said Monday, defining that its policy as applying “maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime.”

The US denies it is seeking regime change, but rather aims to “modify the regime’s behavior,” according to an administration official.

A US administration official said the Iranian government was using financial resources freed up by the nuclear deal “to spread human misery.” The US was seeking now to address the “totality of the Iranian threat” in the Middle East.

“None of this needs to happen,” an official said on sanctions. Trump is willing to meet the Iranian leadership “any time” for talks,” the official noted.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The EU Backs Off its War on Cash. Here’s Why

The EU Backs Off its War on Cash. Here’s Why

People view paying in cash “as a fundamental freedom, which should not be disproportionately restricted.”

The European Commission, in its official war on cash, admitted that physical cash is perhaps not quite the source of all evil that many EU institutions, including the Commission itself, had made it out to be. And it has abandoned its war on cash.

In a report to the European Parliament and Council on the viability of EU-wide cash payment restrictions, the Commission made three crucial observations.

1. Cash restrictions would have little effect on terrorist financing

Cash plays a major role in many terrorist activities, “offering anonymity and facilitating the ability to conceal not only illegal activities, but also ancillary legal transactions that could otherwise be tracked by law enforcement agencies,” the report points out. But according to the findings of a detailed analysis of recent terrorist attacks, restrictions on payments in cash would have had little impact on the capacity to prepare these attacks, especially given the “observed trend of the decreasing costs of terrorist attacks.”

The amounts of individual transactions are often even lower, and would therefore not have been impacted by restrictions. What’s more, many common transactions made in the preparation of recent terrorist attacks were done using traceable means (credit and debit cards, bank transfers, etc.) without raising any red flags.

2. Cash restrictions could be useful in combating money laundering but are of limited help against tax fraud.

The report notes that cash limits could be a useful tool in the fight against money laundering, of which cash transactions are normally the starting point. Despite the steady growth in non-cash payment methods and the changing face of criminality (i.e., the rise in cybercrime, online fraud and illicit online market places), criminal activities continue to generate profits in the form of large amounts of cash.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Whose Trade War Is It Anyway?

Whose Trade War Is It Anyway?

Everybody complains about Trump, but he wasn’t the one who started it

War is aggression, often with the use of physical violence to conquer land, people, and power. Trade wars, though not quite as bad, also are aggressive in nature. Where two or more private parties want to transact freely, aggressive governments step in the way and prevent trade from happening with the threat of force.

In 2018, most of the mainstream media and the establishment powers blame President Donald Trump and his administration for starting a trade war, which—like real wars—can only produce losers on both sides. “How Much Damage Will Trump’s Trade War Do?” read a headline in The Atlantic, and countless other articles and official statements say similar things.

So the mainstream media and some politicians are pretending that trade was 100 percent free before Trump started to threaten the “free traders” of China, the European Union (EU), Mexico, and Canada with tariffs. The media paints Washington as the aggressor in this trade war. Trump shot first.

However, truth be told, this trade war did not start this year and certainly the United States isn’t the biggest aggressor. In real war terms, the Americans are now starting to shoot back after being under siege for decades and the whole world is complaining about this act of self-defense.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“God Help Us” – British Army Readied In Case Of Hard Brexit

Just as was extremely evident prior to the actual vote in 2016, scaremongering around Brexit (deal or no deal) is escalating among the cognoscenti or desperate Remain ‘told you so’-ers.

Britain’s Sunday Times reports that UK ministers have drawn up plans to send in the army to deliver food, medicines and fuel in the event of shortages if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

Blueprints for the armed forces to assist the civilian authorities, usually used only in civil emergencies, have been dusted down as part of the “no deal” planning, with helicopters and army trucks used to ferry supplies to vulnerable people outside the southeast who were struggling to obtain the medicines they needed.

However, as ominous as this sounds, The Sunday Times admits – a number of paragraphs into their “Army on standby for no-deal Brexit emergency” story – that a source inside the Ministry of Defense said they have not yet received “a formal request” to assist the civilian authorities.

And while desperate not to have this positioned as the work of “Project Fear’, pro-EU opposition MP David Lammy took aim at the news on Twitter saying: “God, help us. This is not coming from Remainers. This is not project fear. Pro-Brexit Ministers are drawing up blueprints for the army to deliver food, fuel and medicine if we leave the EU with no deal,” adding his own touch of hysteria… “We have a duty to prevent this self-immolation.”


God, help us. This is not coming from Remainers. This is not project fear. Pro-Brexit Ministers are drawing up blueprints for the army to deliver food, fuel and medicine if we leave the EU with no deal. We have a duty to prevent this self-immolation.https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/army-on-standby-for-no-deal-brexit-emergency-dz3359lrf 


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump and Juncker Supposedly Agree to Trade Deal: Lies All Around

The US and EU agree to resolve trade differences. Color me skeptical as to how long this lasts and what happens next.

The Wall Street Journal reports U.S., EU Agree to Resolve Trade Differences.

President Trump on Wednesday declared a “new phase” in the relationship between the U.S. and the European Union, agreeing to hold off on proposed car tariffs and work with the EU to resolve their dispute over metals duties, while also promoting bilateral trade.

Speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Mr. Trump said the U.S. and the EU had agreed to “work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non auto-industrial goods.”

“This was a very big day for free and fair trade,” Mr. Trump said. He said the U.S. and EU would “resolve” the steel and aluminum tariffs he imposed earlier this year and the retaliatory tariffs the EU imposed in response.

He said the EU had agreed “almost immediately” begin buying more U.S. soybeans and that the European bloc had agreed to increase LNG exports [imports?] from the U.S. The EU will be a “massive buyer” of LNG, Mr. Trump said.

“I had the intention to make a deal today,” said Mr. Juncker. “And we made a deal today. “

Lie When It’s Serious

Ahead of the meeting, Juncker said it was not his intent to work out a deal. Now he says it was his intention all along.

In case you forgot, please consider the most honest thing Juncker ever said: “When it becomes serious you have to lie.”

So, is Juncker lying today or was he lying two days ago?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nord Stream 2’s Confusing Endgame

Nord Stream 2’s Confusing Endgame

Pipeline

The summer of 2018 will go into history as the moment when a US president fundamentally and decisively changed the international world order which its predecessors worked hard on during the past decades. Within approximately a week from 11 July until 16 July, President Donald Trump achieved to insult its key allies in Europe and fundamentally undermine NATO and the EU, while cozying up to what seems to be the most important adversary of the West. While this week will go into history as an arduous one for the presidency of Trump, for President Vladimir Putin, in contrast, it is one of his best since the Ukraine crisis began in 2015.

The strategic interests of Russia were met in considerable ways as its key adversaries are divided due to Trump’s bellicose and aggressive language before and during the yearly NATO summit in Brussels. The unprecedented attack on Germany during a televised lunch, which caught off-guard the host Secretary-General Stoltenberg, in many ways showcased the current administration’s interest in the financial and energy domain.

Trump claimed “Germany is totally controlled by Russia. They will be getting between 60 and 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.” Although this is factually untrue, Germany imports 33 percent of its gas and 40 percent oil from Russia, these statements spread confusion as to what Trump’s actual endgame is. Several options are possible as to the true intentions of these statements.

This could be a negotiating strategy of Trump by putting pressure on Germany in order of significantly increasing its defense expenditure. Although NATO leaders reaffirmed after the gathering on 12 July their commitment to the pre-Trump agreement of gradually increasing defense expenditure, the US president seems adamant on even more. Trump claimed that the remaining NATO members have agreed to increase expenditure to 4 percent instead of 2 percent. This was rebuffed by the other alliance members.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade War With China Morphs Into Currency War: Biggest Loser is the EU

Those who think “trade wars are good and easy to win” need to stop and reflect on currency wars.

Trade Wars Easy to Win


When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!


Trump’s “logic” rests on the notion that China has a huge trade surplus and the US can hurt China more than China can hurt the US.

Such logic is seriously misguided.

  1. Trade is not a zero sum game. One does not gain by losing less. Losing is losing.
  2. Yes, Trump is correct that the US can place more tariffs on Chinese goods than China can place on US goods. However, Trump cannot ignore US farmers, but the unelected leaders in China can suppress all dissent.
  3. The US dollar floats, the Renmimbi (Yuan) doesn’t. Thus, China can manipulate it currency, albeit with risks of capital flight, to mitigate some or all of US tariffs.

Currency charts can be confusing. Sometimes up is down and sometimes down is up, It depends on which currency is fist. The lead chart shows a 7.4% decline in the yuan vs the US dollar since April 16.

Meanwhile the dollar index itself has advanced.

US Dollar Index

Relative to the overall US Dollar Index Weighting, the Yuan has effectively declined 13.8%.

Combined with China’s counter-tariffs on US goods, that relative decline effectively counteracts most, if not all, Trump’s tariffs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

TARIFF WARS AND THE FALLACY OF THE BALANCE OF TRADE

The world may be on the brink of a series of trade wars between the United States and both the European Union and China. All the parties say they don’t want this — though President has asserted that trade wars are not a problem and easy to win. That remains to be seen!

It may have become a cliché, but we do live in a global economy. The days of actual or attempted national self-sufficiency are long gone. Even in some of the remaining most underdeveloped countries, multitudes of people walk around with cell phones seemingly glued to their ears, communicating with family, friends and business associates a mile away or on the other side of the world.

The clothes that people wear, the music they listen to, the foods they often eat, many of the everyday goods they buy are frequently imported from other continents or from facilities in their own country or region of the world that are owned and operated by international corporations and companies or their local affiliates that serve everyone, everywhere.

An Interconnected and Interdependent World

Manufacturing supply-chains often zig and zag back and forth from one country or continent to another before the final products are ready to be shipped to and sold at the retail stores where the finished goods are offered to ultimate consumers all over our planet. Raw materials are mined or extracted in country “X,” then shipped for refining in country “B,” after which they are sent off to country “C” as an input or component part for the manufacture of a product in country “D,” and then sent on to country “E” for final assembly and finishing up, followed by being shipped off for sale in multitudes of other countries, including those in which these steps in the worldwide stages of the production process have all been undertaken.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America Bombs, Europe Gets the Refugees. That’s Evil

America Bombs, Europe Gets the Refugees. That’s Evil

America Bombs, Europe Gets the Refugees. That’s Evil

The US Government (with France and a few other US allies) bombs Libya, Syria, etc.; and the US regime refuses to accept any of the resulting refugees — the burdens from which are now breaking the EU, and the EU is sinking in economic competition against America’s international corporations. America’s corporations remain blithely unscathed by not only the refugees that are breaking up the EU, but also by the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and other allies of governments that the US regime is trying to overthrow in its constant invasions and coups. The US Government makes proclamations such as “Assad must go!” — but by what right is the US Government involved, at all, in determining whom the leaders in Syria will be? Syria never invaded the US In fact, Syria never invaded anywhere (except, maybe, Israel, in order to respond against Israel’s invasions). Furthermore, all polling, even by Western pollsters, shows that Bashar al-Assad would easily win any free and fair election in Syria. The US Government claims to support democracy, but it does the exact opposite whenever they want to get rid of a Government that is determined to protect that nation’s sovereignty over its own national territory, instead of to yield it to the US regime, or to any other foreigners. The US regime has virtually destroyed the United Nations.

The US regime even refuses to provide restitution to Syria for its bombings, and for its arming and training of the jihadists — the fundamentalist Sunni mercenaries recruited from around the world — who are the US regime’s “boots on the ground” trying to overthrow Syria’s Government. Al Qaeda has led the dozens of jihadist groups that have served as the US regime’s “boots on the ground” to overthrow Assad, but Al Qaeda is good enough to serve the purpose, in the US regime’s view of things.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Italian debt; a financial disaster waiting to happen

Italian debt; a financial disaster waiting to happen

The new Italian government will increase public spending and public debt. It promised to reduce taxes, introduce basic security and reform pensions. Italy’s Northern League’s leader Mateo Salvini surged in the polls and the party is now the strongest in Italy. A couple of years ago it was inconceivable that this regional group could become Italy’s leading political party. We should expect more to come. As the saying goes, it just could not happen till it happened. The financial establishments in North European countries like Germany and the Netherlands assume that the politicians of M5S and Lega Nord will follow the Greek script and will backtrack on their promises. But Mateo Salvini and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte know that if they do not live up to the expectation of the voters, they will be voted out of office. They are also aware of it that the Italian voter has still another alternative called “CasaPound”, a much more radical, if for the time being insignificant, social and anti-migration movement.

The planned reforms could burden the state budget with an additional 125 billion euros per year. Can the Italian government afford such a thing?1)

The question is rhetorical when you look at Italy’s growing debt mountain.

It amounts to €2300 billion, of which 1900 billion are government bonds. What should worry investors, however, is the structure of this debt. Ten years ago, when the last financial crisis broke out, 51% of these government bonds were hold by foreign investors. When the climate for investment in a country deteriorates, they sell these bonds immediately. When in 2011 the Berlusconi government threatened to withdraw from the eurozone budget rules because of the huge budget deficit, German and French banks sold Italian government bonds BTP (Buoni del Tesoro Poliennali) worth a total of €150 billion. In the following years, foreigners bought Italian debt instruments again for around €100 billion, but their share is now very low at 36%.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Emerging Market Crisis Spreads To The Core, Central Banks Face Catch-22

Emerging Market Crisis Spreads To The Core, Central Banks Face Catch-22

One of the things giving “data-driven” central banks wiggle room on their pledge to tighten monetary policy is the fact that there are several definitions of inflation. In the US the thing most people think of as inflation is the consumer price index, or CPI, which is now running comfortably above the Fed’s target. But the Fed prefers the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, which tends to paint a less inflationary picture. And within the PCE universe, core PCE, which strips out energy and food, is the data series that actually motivates Fed action.

And that, at long last, is now above the 2% target, having risen 2.3% in the past year.
On the following chart, the core PCE is the blue line. Note the steepening slope towards mid-year. This is clearly a trend with some momentum which, if it continues, will take this index from slightly above target to substantially above.

PCE inflation

A more surprising above-target reading just came from Germany, which didn’t used to have inflation of any kind. But now it does:

(Reuters) – German inflation surpassed the target set by the European Central Bank for the euro zone in June, the second month in a row it has done so, lending support to the ECB’s decision to close its bond purchase scheme at the end of the year.

Data published by the Federal Statistics Office on Thursday showed that EU-harmonised German consumer prices rose 2.1 percent year-on-year. The same measure had increased by 2.2 percent in May. The yearly figure matched a Reuters forecast.

German inflation

Again, note the pop over the last couple of months. If this is sustained, the European Central Bank will have to speed up its leisurely tightening pace. Right now it’s scaling back its bond-buying but not signaling higher rates – which will definitely have to be on the menu if German inflation stays above 2%.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Could Germany Fracture?

Could Germany Fracture?

All sorts of centralized organizations that appear rock-solid may well melt into air as the disintegrative dynamics gather momentum.

Rising political and social discord that is generally being attributed to “populism” may actually be the re-emergence of ancient geographic and cultural fault lines. An often-overlooked manifestation of this might be the nation-state of Germany, a possibility fleshed out by longtime correspondent Mark G.

It’s both convenient and expedient for politicos to blame “populism” for the fracturing of the status quo. Given the unsavory undertones of ethnic/religious bias of “populism,” this allows the media-savvy politico (and aren’t they all media-savvy?) to paint his/her opponents as racist via the code-word “populist.”

Labeling dissenters “populists” doesn’t explain or predict anything. In terms of economic classes, it’s more insightful to distinguish between the Protected Class (insiders and favored elites) who benefits enormously from the status quo and the Unprotected Class (outsiders, marginalized workers, those without privilege or access to cheap capital).

But this doesn’t exhaust the sources of profound social discord. As historian Peter Turchin explained in his recent book Ages of Discord, historical eras are either integrative periods in which people find reasons to cooperate and join forces, or disintegrative periods in which reasons to split apart become dominant.

Clearly, the world-system of this era is entering a disintegrative phrase, and dismissing dissenters as “populists” solves nothing. For insight on how the disintegrative phase may manifest in Germany, let’s turn to Mark G.’s commentary:

Merkel faces own ‘German BREXIT’ Chancellor’s immigration crisis is ‘Threat to Europe’

The breakdown of the Bavarian CSU and German CDU center-right coalition (refounded post WWII by Konrad Adenauer) is historic. And it has definite regional implications. I think we could be watching the beginning moves not in a “German Brexit” but in the political collapse of the modern German state into multiple components. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Firmly In the Twilight Zone: Threatens Nord Stream 2 With Sanctions

Trump’s vise on the EU started with steel, progressed to cars, then to Iran, and now to a gas pipeline vital to the EU.

The story of the day, not discussed in mainstream media, involves Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline between Russia and the EU. The feature image is from Gazprom.

Gazprom says “The new pipeline, similar to the one in operation, will establish a direct link between Gazprom and the European consumers. It will also ensure a highly reliable supply of Russian gas to Europe.”

Some suggest the EU is unwise to depend on Russia. That is nonsense. Why?

Free trade stops wars!

Regardless, it is the EU’s decision to make, not Trump’s, and the deal is already underway.

Gazprom, Partners Invest €4.8 Billion Nord Stream 2 Construction

Believe that? Why not? There is no dispute from the EU.

My point is the investment.

Russia’s gas producer Gazprom and its Nord Stream 2 partners have invested a total of 4.8 bln euro in the project on natural gas pipeline construction as of the end of June, Chief Financial Officer of Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the pipeline construction, Paul Corcoran told journalists on Thursday.

“We have received 96% of the pipes, we have concrete coated 55% of those pipes and we mobilized vessels for the pipelines. So we are quite well prepared on track and on time for the project,” CFO added.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to come into service at the end of 2019.

Stop It All Says Trump

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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