Sabtu, 31 Maret 2012

US buck about to take a spray in the face from India , China and the rest of Asia ( Ex Japan ) ?

The USA dollar will now start to suffer as India and China try to skirt the Iranian sanctions:

(courtesy Bloomberg)

India and China Skirt Iran Sanctions With ‘Junk for Oil’

Iran and its leading oil buyers, China and India, are finding ways to skirt U.S. and European Union financial sanctions on the Islamic republic by agreeing to trade oil for local currencies and goods including wheat, soybean meal and consumer products.
India, the second-biggest importer of Iran's oil, has set up a rupee account at a state-owned bank to settle as much as much as 45 percent of its bill, according to Indian officials. China, Iran’s largest oil customer, already settles some of its oil debts through barter, Mahmoud Bahmani, Iran’s central bank governor, said Feb. 28. Iran also has sought to trade oil for wheat from Pakistan and Russia, according to media reports from the two countries.

The trend is growing, sanctions specialists and U.S. officials say, and is denying the Islamic Republic hard currency to prop up the plummeting value of the rial and to fund nuclear and missile programs. Iran already is starved for dollars and euros to support the rial, and barter deals will force it to spend billions of dollars of oil revenue on goods, according to Kenneth Katzman at the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan government-research institute in Washington.
“Iran cannot stabilize the value of its currency with such unorthodox payment methods, and that is why its economy is collapsing,” Katzman, an Iran sanctions specialist, said in an interview. “Iran is essentially on a junk-for-oil program.”


The second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran said last month it will accept payment in any local currency or gold as new sanctions make it harder for trading partners to pay in dollars and euros.
The barter trend, lawyers and trade analysts say, is exposing an unintended consequence of sanctions. Cutting Iran off from the global financial system, they say, is driving trade into informal channels and producing greater opportunities for corruption and the diversion of funds for illicit purposes.
“Payments through the financial system are easier to police, and there is less scope for corruption,” said Nigel Kushner, a London-based attorney who specializes in Iran sanctions and export controls.
While “the upside of denying Iran access to hard currency for furthering its nuclear program outweighs the downside of decreasing transparency and pushing trade underground, we could be left very much in the dark as to who is dealing with Iran,” Kushner said in an interview.


“When you force trade out of established channels, you have no way to measure it” or to verify that Iran’s trading partners are abiding by global sanctions regimes, said Barbara Slavin, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington research group.
Iran is feeling the impact of tightened sanctions on finance, insurance, shipping and energy. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, known as Swift, expelled Iran’s central bank and more than 20 other Iranian banks this month, making it almost impossible for Iran to complete large international funds transfers.
The biggest winners in the rise of barter deals with Iran are India and China, the world’s fastest-growing major economies, which now are able to meet some of their burgeoning energy demands by trading rupees and yuan or agricultural and consumer goods, analysts said.


Iran is using yuan paid into Chinese bank accounts to buy Chinese-made washing machines, refrigerators, electronic goods, toys, clothes, cosmetics and toiletries, Katzman said.
Rupee payments to Iran from India may total at least $4 billion a year and will be deposited in India’s state-run UCO Bank (UCO), which doesn’t have U.S. operations and is unlikely to be affected by the global sanctions, according to an official with knowledge of the matter who declined to be named because the information is confidential.
Payments in local currencies such as the yuan and rupee, which are not fully convertible, are less beneficial for Iran than hard currencies such as dollars, euros, and Japanese yen.
Trevor Houser, an energy analyst and partner at the Rhodium Group, a New York-based economic research firm, said paying for Iranian oil in rupees is “a pretty good deal for India, and it’s a pretty bad deal for Iran.” It limits the goods the Persian Gulf nation can buy and “deprives Iran of the hard currency they need for effective monetary policy,” he said in a telephone interview.


India’s $2.7 billion in exports to Iran last year amounted to less than a third of the $9.5 billion worth of crude oil that India bought from the Islamic Republic, meaning it may prove difficult to pay for as much as 45 percent of Iran’s oil exports through barter.
Barter deals themselves don’t violate sanctions provided that no laws are broken, such as dealing with sanctioned banks and companies or providing technology for Iran’s nuclear program, according to three Obama administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. So long as countries comply with a new U.S. law by reducing Iranian crude imports, there’s no prohibition on paying for that oil with legal goods and services, the officials said.
If India pays for oil with wheat, one U.S. official said, that’s better than paying the Iranians in dollars or euros they might use to buy additional centrifuges to enrich uranium.


Another U.S. official said the administration has no evidence that any country is using barter deals to conceal increased oil imports from Iran or to trade in illicit goods.
Iran earned about $100 billion from crude oil exports in 2011, according to International Monetary Fund projections. U.S. and EU sanctions imposed since November are intended to squeeze the Islamic Republic’s economy, persuading its leaders to abandon any illicit aspects of its nuclear program.
United Nations inspectors issued a report Nov. 8 raising questions about possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, adding fuel to U.S., EU and Israeli claims that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is strictly for civilian energy and medical research.
China and India have maintained commercial ties with their Persian neighbor even as the sanctions have created obstacles. Trade among the nations dates back 2,200 years to the Silk Route, a trade network spanning Central and East Asia.
While neither China nor Iran has made details of existing barter arrangements public, China’s exports to Iran increased to $14.8 billion in 2011, compared with $900 million in 2001, according to Chinese customs data. China imported $21.7 billion in Iranian oil last year, the figures show.


India exported $2.7 billion worth of goods to Iran in the financial year that ended in March 2011, according to India’s Department of Commerce. Iron and steel articles were the biggest category, accounting for $623 million. That was followed by $454 million in products including inorganic chemicals, precious metal compounds and rare-earth metals, and $419.6 million in cereals.
Seventy Indian business representatives met Iranian companies and officials in Tehran and Tabriz this month to discuss boosting trade, said Anand Seth, spokesman for the Federation of Indian Export Organizations, which organized the tour. The federation, a partnership between private companies and the Indian Commerce Ministry, won’t release the names of the Indian companies for fear of subjecting them to pressures from the U.S., Seth said.
“Barter trade is nothing new for Iran, and the country’s merchant mentality will adapt quickly to the new situation,” Bijan Khajehpour, an Iranian business consultant based in Vienna, said in an interview.
To contact the reporters on this story: Indira A.R. Lakshmanan in Washington; Pratish Narayanan in Mumbai at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at


Now the Bank of Korea has cut USA dollar reserves.  The USA dollar is heading south:

(courtesy Bloomberg)

Bank of Korea cuts dollar reserves by 3%

 Section:  By Eunkyung Se
Bloomberg News
Friday, March 30, 2012
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, pared the share of dollars in its foreign-exchange reserves to the lowest level since the global financial crisis erupted in 2007.
Dollar holdings dropped to 60.5 percent of foreign- exchange reserves at the end of last year from 63.7 percent in 2010, the central bank said in its annual report for 2011 released today.
The drop underscores a shift among reserve managers to diversify assets, with China's yuan and Australia's dollar among the beneficiaries. South Korea's government earlier this year announced plans to invest in Chinese equities as well as bonds as the yuan's international role increases.

"The move to diversify reserves away from U.S. dollars and the euro accelerated last year, largely on weaker fiscal fundamentals and subdued economic conditions in developed markets," Wai Ho Leong, a senior regional economist at Barclays Capital in Singapore, said in an e-mail. "At the same time, it marked a move into gold, and bonds of stable emerging-market economies, particularly those with better longer-term prospects and currency appreciation potential."
The central bank boosted the proportion of equity investments to 5.4 percent last year from 3.8 percent, it said. Holdings of foreign government bonds rose to 36.8 percent from 35.8 percent in 2010, the BOK said.
While the proportion of dollar holdings declined to the lowest since 2007, when the central bank began to disclose details about its asset portfolio, the change doesn't reflect a lack of confidence in the currency, Kang Sung Kyung, a director at the bank's Reserve Management Group, told reporters in Seoul today
Other currencies held by the BOK include the euro, yen, pound, and Canadian and Australian dollars, Kang said. The central bank holds government bonds issued mostly by the U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia, the U.K., Germany, and France, he said.
Foreign-exchange reserves climbed by $4.46 billion to a record $315.8 billion at the end of February as the euro and pound strengthened against the dollar and the central bank made gains by managing assets, according to a central bank statement on March 5.
Choo Heung Sik, the director general of the Reserve Management Group, said in an interview in January that the yuan "has the potential to become a key reserve currency in the long term and thus we are building a channel to invest there."
The BOK said that month it received approval from the People's Bank of China to buy bonds and obtained a license as a Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor, or QFII.
"Central banks need to look for higher returns," said Frances Cheung, a strategist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. "Their sterilization programs used to mop up liquidity is creating the pressure for them to look for assets with better returns."

Argentina seems to be taking a page from the US and EU by threatening banksters that take positions against their political interests....

In what amounts to the start of a new trade war between the UK and Argentina, the banks - understood to include the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs - have been warned they face criminal and civil action in the Argentine courts.
The threats were made in a series of letters sent to as many as 15 banks by the Argentine embassy in London over the last ten days.
The letter, a copy of which has been seen by The Sunday Telegraph, warns the institutions that even merely writing research notes on exploration companies involved in the Falklands constitutes “a violation of the applicable domestic and international rules”.
The news - coming a day ahead of the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands which sparked the 1982 conflict - is likely to worsen tensions between the two countries. The Argentine government is continuing to push for sovereignty.
The two-page letter, to which a schedule of legal declarations about the Falkland’s ownership are attached, is intended to warn off the banks from any further involvement in the South Atlantic oil industry.

Unreal ! Japanese protesters say enough of the government bs on taking radioactive debris ! !


Disaster Debris Wide-Area Disposal PR in Kyoto: Ministry Official Wearily Says "Unprecedented Number of Protesters..."

Yomiuri Shinbun Kansai version did carry the report on the Ministry of the Environment event in the Kyoto Station yesterday.

From Yomiuri Shinbun Kansai version (4/1/2012):

400 protesters against disaster debris acceptance into Kyoto


Minister of the Environment canceled the distribution of the fliers


On March 31 in front of the Kyoto JR Station (in Kyoto City), Minister of the Environment Hosono appealed for accepting the disaster debris in Kyoto. He was flanked by other officials including Keiji Yamada, governor of Kyoto. The minister called to the crowd, "Please think about Miyagi and Iwate, not just about yourselves." But residents opposing the debris acceptance surrounded him, and he had to cancel the distribution of the [promotional] fliers.


It was a street event rolled out by the Ministry of the Environment, "Disaster Debris Disposal Project, by Joining Hands". It started in Tokyo on March 11, and this Kyoto event is the 5th event, and the first in Kansai Region. Citizens held up signs that said "We are against the wide-area disposal" "Debris, No" [in Kyoto dialect], and shouted "Go back" and "Protect children". 同行していた同省職員が「今までにない反対派の数だった」という騒動になったが、細野環境相は終了後、「諦めることはできないので、できるだけ多くの地域で受け入れていただけるよう(広域処理を)前進させていきたい」とやや疲れた表情で話した。

An official at the Ministry of the Environment who accompanied the Minister admitted, "This was an unprecedented number of protesters." Minister Hosono spoke after the event, looking a bit tired. "I cannot give up. I want to proceed on the wide-area disposal, so I hope to persuade as many locations as possible."
It was not just a number of people against it that was unprecedented; ordinary citizens shouting down the minister of the national government and other politicians was unprecedented.

If I strictly translate what Yomiuri called "反対派", it is "opposing faction", as if this was an organized movement by an established/existing organization. From what I saw, the only "organized" movement was those few men holding up signs that said "Kizuna (ties that bind)", "Let's promote wide-area disposal", with characters neatly printed.

To view the Kyoto residents shouting down the politicians including Hosono, chanting "go back, go back", or "protect children", go to my previous post.



(UPDATED with Video) Goshi Hosono Is Being Shouted Down by Protesters in Kyoto

Hosono and his officials are right now in Kyoto, trying to persuade Kyoto residents that they have to accept disaster debris, and the protesters want to have none of that. Hosono has to shout to be heard over the ruckus.

He's trying to appeal to the people in Kyoto by showing some craft piece made by a Miyagi elementary school child. "Do you think this is contaminated? Do you?"

Live at Yasumi Iwakami's IWJ UStream:


Update 3/31/2011:

Here's the recorded video of the event.

At about 7 minutes into the video: No.3 guy at Ministry of the Environment (politician) starts to speak, appealing to the small crowd at Kyoto Station how important it is to help out the people in the disaster affected area whose towns are still buried under the mountain of debris. "See this photo?" he says.

Shouting starts about 8 minutes. "We're against it!" (Hantai!)

At 8:55, you see two guys in bright green vests holding up signs that says "Kizuna". How much more blatant can you get, to show you are the Ministry's shills?

At 11:30, Goshi Hosono, Minister of the Environment, takes the stage. He is immediately being shouted down by angry crowd. He has to change the microphone to be heard above the shouting.
At 16:00, Hosono desperately grabs a craft piece made by an elementary school kid in the disaster affected area, and tries to tell the angry audience "Do you think this is contaminated? Do you?" People keep shouting at him, "Kaere, Kaere (Go back, go back)".At 23:00, Governor of Kyoto takes the stage. People keep shouting him down.

At 27:40, Fukuyama, DPJ politician from Kyoto and advisor to then-Prime Minister Kan when the disaster struck, takes the stage. People keep shouting "Go back, go back". Fukuyama pleads with them that he is from Kyoto, and he comes back here. People keep shouting "Go back, go back".

People are telling him to go back to where he belongs, which is the center of the central government who wants Kyoto to accept and burn debris.

At 32:00 Fukuyama resorts to citing "democracy" as the reason why these protesters should quietly listens to him. People keep shouting "Go back, Go back".

Video streaming by Ustream
That was rich. "Democracy". Was it a democracy to simply decide to spread the disaster debris all over Japan without even asking people?
Good for Kyoto people. I've never seen anything like this where people refuse to quietly listen to a politician, and instead they shout them down.

I am surprised that they didn't call in the police, but as Iwakami's IWJ was there netcasting live, that would have really made the already ugly scene for the Ministry of the Environment even uglier.
There is ZERO coverage of this incident in the national newspapers, not even in their local Kyoto versions. All there are in the local versions of the national papers is how eager and willing and ready Kyoto is to accept and burn the disaster debris.

Monti and Italy appear to follow spain with protests , a possible general strike and resistance to more forced austerity

A lawyer holds a sign titled '' The justice is killed'' during a protest in front of the Justice Palace in Rome March 15, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

ROME | Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:27pm EDT
(Reuters) - Storm clouds are gathering over Mario Monti's efforts to transform the Italian economy, with his approval ratings dropping, mounting protests against his reforms and a damaging row with the parties that sustain him in parliament.
Monti shot out of the blocks after being appointed prime minister in November and quickly implemented tough austerity measures to fend off the debt crisis. But he now risks running into political quicksands that will slow down and weaken the much harder task of reviving a notoriously stagnant economy.
A labour reform that is at the center of Monti's programme has hit heavy opposition, forcing him to abandon immediate implementation and accept a parliamentary debate that will delay the law for months and could lead to it being diluted.

The reform has also caused rifts in the center-left Democratic Party, his second-biggest parliamentary backer, destabilizing the alliance on which he depends to govern.

Italy's borrowing costs, which fell sharply after Monti took power, have also begun to creep upwards recently, reflecting in part the increased political uncertainty.

The technocrat premier was widely criticized by both politicians and commentators in Italy on Thursday for an outburst against the parties from Japan, where he was on an Asian tour intended to drum up foreign investment.

Monti told reporters: "The government enjoys high support in opinion polls, the parties do not." This followed remarks in South Korea where he threatened to step down if the parties and trade unions didn't like the job his administration was doing.

Both remarks betray Monti's irritation at political sniping and opposition to his measures, particularly the key labour reform. They also mark a departure from the statesmanlike demeanor he adopted earlier in the year when he never lost an opportunity to laud the parties' sense of responsibility.

Judging from reaction on Thursday, the previous approach was more prudent, and the former European Commissioner may have overplayed his trump card - the extreme reluctance of the parties to lead a government that must take painful and unpopular measures to ward off financial disaster.

"This muscular exhibition risks compromising the good things achieved so far by this government, backed by responsible political parties," commentator Pierluigi Battista said in a front-page editorial in the respected Corriere della Sera daily.
Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani, under heavy pressure from the party's left wing over the labour reform, quickly shot back at Monti, underlining the interdependence between technocrats and politicians.

"Either politicians and technocrats convince the country together or ... we will all get a kicking," Bersani said.


Monti was appointed as Italy tottered on the brink of a Greek-style debt crisis and politicians suffered widespread contempt for failing to head it off.

But to govern, he is dependent on a grand political coalition stretching from the center-left to the center-right.

Monti's irritability may reflect a drop in his approval ratings because of the labour reform, intended to free up a sclerotic dual system that gives cast-iron protection to older workers on permanent contracts while condemning many young people to endless temporary contracts without benefits.

Most Italians do not seem to believe Monti's assertion that a reform making it easier to fire people will also create a fairer jobs market. A poll on Sunday found 67 percent of people opposed the measure.

The same poll showed Monti's support falling to 44 percent last weekend from 62 percent in early March, although another poll on Wednesday registered a more modest drop to 55 percent this month from 59 percent in February.

Nevertheless, his approval is way higher than that of the major parties, whose ratings are still below 30 percent.

Monti's problems also reflect two other factors, one an ironic consequence of his own success, and the other a signal of the return to center stage of politicians who were cowed by the economic emergency but are now vying to retrieve some of their support in local elections on May 6-7, the first substantial electoral test since the technocrat government took power.
Monti's major prestige abroad, his sobriety and obvious expertise have contributed to a slide in Italy's borrowing costs from an untenable level above 7 percent in November to more manageable levels of around 5 percent.

This reduced the pressure for politicians to go along with his reforms and also encouraged trade union opposition.


The biggest union, the leftwing CGIL, has threatened a general strike against the labour reforms and all the three main union confederations have announced a joint protest on April 13 against a pension reform that was passed in December to muted opposition and is seen by many as Monti's biggest achievement.

Monti's problem is that the easing of debt pressure and his own stumbles over the reform have left space for a revival of political squabbling between the grand coalition's right and left, which will make future reforms more difficult and revive anxiety in financial markets already on edge about Spain's economic difficulties.

Parliamentary debate on the labour reform is likely to see the PD trying to weaken the changes and the center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi pulling in the opposite direction.

The PDL, backing the position of employers, opposes any changes and says the bill should have been implemented immediately. But if there are changes, it says they must be balanced between right and left, risking prolonged debate.

None of this suggests Monti's days are numbered, only that they may be a great deal more difficult from now on.

With a general election in a year, the parties struggling to overcome their low public esteem and a crisis of identity caused by Monti's wind of change, none want to risk toppling him and provoking a new market storm.
In addition, there is almost no chance of an election now being held before next spring - the season when Italian polls traditionally take place. All sides swiftly denied a recent rumor that there could be a vote in the autumn.

So Monti will no doubt soldier on out of a sense of duty, with the constant danger that his difficulty in passing deep reform will again upset the markets and reverse the progress he has made in restoring respect for Italy.

and following the lead of the spanish hookers going on strike against banksters , now the italian elite face this threat ....

No More Viagra For Mario Monti And His Ilk

testosteronepit's picture

Wolf Richter
Economic, regulatory, and entitlement reforms are tough. While they’re supposed to open opportunities, put budgets on sounder footing, or make the economy more competitive, they invariably cut into the flesh of some groups, who then react with demonstrations and strikes to draw attention to their plight and put pressure on the reformers to preserve the status quo.
This has been happening across the Eurozone wherever major reforms have been attempted. People in those demonstrations may speak of revolution—meaning a radical change. But they want the opposite: preserve the existing system, protections, and entitlements. So it’s complicated. Greece is a salient example with impressive TV footage of street battles, Molotov cocktails, and burning buildings. In other countries, France for instance, reforms have been greeted with peaceful demonstrations and more disruptively, with massive transportation strikes that throw innocent bystanders, such as businesses, commuters, and travelers, into utter chaos, sometimes for days.
But now the perhaps most tongue-in-cheek effort will take place in Italy where unelected technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti and his government are trying to liberalize the economy and create conditions for growth by reforming a whole slew of professions whose insiders are protected by regulatory barriers to entry. Growth is essential. Italy is staggering under its debt. Already, the ECB bought piles of Italian government bonds and printed a mountain of euros that it handed to the banks, including Italian banks, so that they would buy crappy bonds for which the financial markets had lost their appetite. Without those actions, controversial and inflationary as they may be, Italy would have to face the music. It’s tough out there.
"The financial aspect of the crisis is over," declared a relieved Monti last week while visiting Japan, a country mired in a much deeper fiscal hole than Italy but endowed with a central bank that has no compunction about monetizing government deficits. Alas, as he gloated about the progress his government has made in reforming the economy, the targets of his reforms weren't quite so happy.
Among them are state-employed hospital pharmacists, an integral part of Italy's public health care system. They’re upset because the reforms envision issuing 5,000 licenses mostly for new private pharmacies—creating jobs for young unemployed pharmacists who are stewing at their parents’ house while waiting for a miracle. These private pharmacies would then compete with hospital pharmacies. Scared out of their wits by these evil machinations, hospital pharmacists have come up with an ingenious plan: hit back where it hurts the most, and not willy-nilly in every direction, but go after the very top of the power structure, the old men that run the show.
Standard labor actions commence in April and will rise into a crescendo. The old men that run the show should heed the warning; if they don’t water down the reforms, the hospital pharmacists will roll out their ultimate weapon. It will be brutal and life-altering. No more ... Viagra. Hospital pharmacists will cease selling it. Men who habitually use it will be cut off cold turkey and will be cast into abstinence hell. The "Viagra strike” is aimed straight at those responsible for the reforms—the old men in parliament and at Monti himself. The logic is impeccable. And, as Union official Loredana Vasselli points out, it "does not put patients’ health at risk."
Only flaw in the logic: given the early warning, these men could acquire a stash in advance to get them through the strike. Thus, hording could actually cause a spike in pharmacy sales. However, like any Italian man worth his salt, Monti, if pressed by reporters, would deny with casual eloquence that he is hording Viagra....
It’s a heck of a lot better than the astonishing ploy used with impunity across the border. For a debacle that is viewed as amusing by everyone except the bosses, read.... Taking Bosses Hostage: A Labor Negotiating Tactic In France.

Wondering why DHS ordering 450 million hollow point bullets...

Somebody out there has decided that the Department of Homeland Security needs a whole lot of ammunition. Recently it was announced that ATK was awarded a contract to provide up to 450 MILLION hollow point bullets to the Department of Homeland Security over the next five years.

Is it just me, or does that sound incredibly excessive? What in the world is the DHS going to do with 450 million rounds? What possible event would ever require that much ammunition? If the United States was ever invaded, it would be the job of the U.S. military to defend the country, so that can't be it. So what are all of those bullets for? Who does the Department of Homeland Security plan to be shooting at?

According to the U.S. Census, there are only about 311 million people living in the entire country. So why does the Department of Homeland Security need 450 million rounds of ammunition? Either this is an incredible waste or there is something that the Department of Homeland Security is not telling us.

I could understand if the U.S. military was ordering ammunition in this quantity. When you fight wars, you can go through ammunition very rapidly.But the Department of Homeland Security is only supposed to be shooting at people very rarely.

It simply does not make sense that they would need so much ammunition.

The following is an excerpt from the official press release about this deal between ATK and the Department of Homeland Security...

and maybe the bullet order is to enforce this Edict.....

Obama signed a terrifying "executive order" last Friday

Monday, March 19, 2012
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From SHTFplan:

"In a nutshell, it’s the blueprint for Peacetime Martial Law and it gives the president the power to take just about anything deemed necessary for “National Defense”, whatever they decide that is."(The Intel Hub)

While millions of people have been preparing for the possibility of a catastrophic event by relocating to rural homesteads or farms, as well as stockpiling food, water, personal defense armaments, and other essential supplies with the intention of utilizing these preparations if the worst happens, the latest executive order signed by President Obama on March 16, 2012 makes clear that in the event of a nationally deemed emergency, all of these resources will fall under the authority of the United States government.

The signing of the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order grants the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense, and other agencies complete control of all U.S. resources, including the ability to seize, confiscate or re-delegate resources, materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense as delegated by the following agencies...

Brotherhood drops the gauntlet down in front of the Generals....

Egypt's Brotherhood picks presidential runner
Muslim Brotherhood to field Khairat al-Shater as candidate in May's presidential vote, reversing earlier policy.
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2012 20:49
Khairat al-Shater, a top financier of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, is set to be the group's presidential candidate [AFP]
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, in control of almost half the seats in parliament, announced it was fielding its own presidential candidate, reversing an earlier decision not to do so and escalating its confrontation with the nation's ruling generals and the group's secular and progressive critics.A win by its candidate, the group's chief strategist and deputy leader Khairat al-Shater, would give the formerly outlawed movement Islamic principles should regulate all aspects of public and family life a strong grip on both the country's legislative and executive branches, and gives the group a powerful hand in determining the future of this mainly Muslim nation whose longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, a staunch US ally, was ousted a year ago.
The announcement at a Cairo news conference ended weeks of speculation and confusion within the group. The Saturday's decision split the group's governing Shura council, the group's legislative body, to two camps: one in
favour of fielding a candidate from within and one against it, fearing the repercussions, according to a Brotherhood official. He spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Egypt's press describe al-Shater as a multi-millionaire businessman and one of the Brotherhood's main financiers.

The movement's decision to finally nominate one of its own is likely to escalate the group's confrontation with the council of military generals, who are accused of seeking to preserve the army's privileges and are likely not
to want too much power concentrated in the hands of a single group.

It will also widen the gap with progressives and secularists, who fear that the movement - which has largely espoused moderate rhetoric in the past year - will implement a conservative Muslim agenda once it has solidified its political position.

Already, Muslim conservatives enjoy a comfortable majority on a 100-member panel tasked with drafting a new constitution for Egypt, which has raised serious alarm among the nation's large Christian minority and progressives.
Policy reversal

The decision to run a presidential candidate may have as much to do with the Brotherhood's internal politics as its long-term plans. Two other advocates of political Islam - one a relative progressive and the other an ultra-conservative - are also running for president, and Brotherhood leaders reportedly feared that these candidates might attract a following from younger members of the movement and break down its legendary discipline.Mahmoud Hussein, the group's deputy leader, said the decision to run a candidate was made in the face of "attempts to abort the revolution," after the military council refused several requests by the Brotherhood to appoint a
cabinet of ministers.
"We don't want to reach a confrontation that affects the path of the nation," Mohammed Morsi, top leader of the group's political arm said.

But such a confrontation is likely. The move reverses a pledge made by the group's leaders not to contest presidential elections to reassure progressives and Western countries fearful of an Islamic takeover.

The group won close to half of parliament seats in the country's first post-revolution elections in November. That victory was largely due to the Brotherhood's grassroots movement, however, and it is unclear how al-Shater will do against other candidates who might have greater name recognition and stronger television presence, such as ex-Arab League chief Amr Moussa.

Al-Shater also faces off against the two other candidates calling for an Islamic form of government, although the impact of him splitting the Islamist vote is lessened because the top two candidates in the first round of balloting will go on to a run-off.

Al-Shater, who is in his early sixties, joined the Brotherhood in 1974. He has been jailed four times for a total of seven years on charges relating to his membership in the Brotherhood, which was outlawed more than 50 years ago.

However, Hussein said that there are "no legal obstacles" in front of al-Shater to contest the election.

Bazookas only work when they are actually bazookas....

Spiegel Says "Even a 1-Trillion Euro Firewall Wouldn't Be Enough"; Mish Says "The Bigger the Bazooka, the More Money Will be Lost"

Eurozone bureaucrats keep upping the ante as to how big a "firewall" is needed. And at every critical juncture, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proven she is nothing but a liar. With every demand for additional firepower, comes an inevitable cave-in from Merkel supporting the move, no matter what she says in advance.

Meanwhile, the entire idea that firewalls can accomplish anything is ludicrous, given the key point that no currency unions in the absence of fiscal unions cannot and will not work.

I suspect Merkel understands this, merely wanting to get Germany so deep into bailouts step by step, that it will be reluctant to leave the Eurozone. It is high time the German Supreme court step in and stop this nonsense.

However, nothing can stop Greece, Portugal, and Spain from leaving, and eventually they will. In the meantime, rest assured that every increase in firepower will be additional money of German citizens' pockets. The end-game will be a currency or banking crisis at the worst possible time.

For now, please consider 'Even a 1-Trillion Euro Firewall Wouldn't Be Enough'
European finance ministers meeting in Copenhagen on Friday agreed to boost the euro-zone firewall to over 800 billion euros. The move marks another U-turn on the part of the Merkel administration, which recently dropped its opposition to increasing the fund. German commentators warn that even the new firewall may still be too small.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, have been accused of crossing many of the "red lines" that they have set for themselves over the course of the euro crisis, making U-turn after U-turn as the crisis escalated. They officially stepped over the latest red line on Friday, when European Union finance ministers meeting in Copenhagen agreed to boost the scope of the euro zone's firewall to over €800 billion ($1 trillion). Berlin had long rejected such an expansion out of hand.The Nuclear Option

On Thursday evening, in the run-up to Friday's summit, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had said he was prepared to combine the existing bailouts with the new permanent mechanism. He said that the €800 billion capacity was "convincing" and "sufficient."
But not everyone shares his view that the sum is enough. On Thursday, French Finance Minister François Baroin called for the permanent euro bailout fund to be increased to €1 trillion,to shore up market confidence and prevent contagion in the euro crisis. "The firewall, it's a little like the nuclear option in military planning, it's there for dissuasion, not to be used," Baroin said in a radio interview.

'Shifting Sand Dunes'

Opposition parties in Germany were quick to make political capital out of the Merkel administration's many U-turns during a debate on the euro rescue fund and the European fiscal pact in the German parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday. "Your red lines have, in reality, become shifting sand dunes," Frank-Walter Steinmeier, floor leader for the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), said to widespread applause.

In December, Merkel argued, entirely convincingly, that boosting the euro bailout fund was the wrong course to take. After all, she said, it would reduce the pressure on crisis-stricken states to push through reforms. There was also the question of whether the creditor countries, including Germany, were in danger of being overwhelmed by ever-higher guarantees." "Now, the fund is indeed being expanded, and the coalition government's former concerns have suddenly disappeared. Instead, the administration is attempting to conceal its own U-turn with highly flawed arguments.
The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung focuses on the calls to boost the ESM to €1 trillion:

"One trillion euros is a lot of money, and yet even this huge sum will not be enough. But again, that's nothing new. For months, calculations have been doing the rounds that show that at least €1.5 trillion will be needed. The only interesting question left is how long it will take France and Germany to acknowledge this reality."
No Amount is Enough

For reasons noted at the top, no amount of money (that can reasonably be provided) would be sufficient. After all, there is a limit to what German citizens and taxpayers can stand. Besides,money alone cannot fix structural problems.

Finally, the "nuclear" option is nothing more than former US treasury Hank Paulson's "Bazooka" theory in disguise.

Bazooka Theory vs. Actual Results

"If you have a bazooka in your pocket and people know it, you probably won't have to use it." Paulson said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. The reference was in regards to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.Paulson believed that if he had the power to bailout Fannie Mae, the market would react to that possibility and no bailout would be necessary.

Now taxpayers have wasted close to $200 billion bailing out Fannie and Freddie bondholders (mainly PIMCO and foreign banks).

Flashback February 12, 2010EU Leaders Deploy ‘Bazooka’ to Repel Attack on Greece
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her counterparts yesterday pledged “determined and coordinated action” to support Greece’s efforts to regain control of its finances. They stopped short of providing taxpayers’ money or diluting their own demands for the country to cut the European Union’s biggest budget deficit.

“It’s like Paulson’s bazooka,” said Nielsen, Goldman Sachs’s chief European economist in London. “It’s a difficult balancing act -- saying something comforting to the market without committing money and hoping the market will take their word for it.”

After a three-month long plunge in Greece’s bonds amid speculation it was facing the threat of default, euro-region leaders yesterday ordered the country to slash its budget deficit and warned investors they would be willing to defend the country from speculative attack if necessary.
“This is not money for free,” said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the group of euro-area finance ministers. “This is a strong commitment imposed on Greece.”
How Well Did That Idiotic Bazooka Move Work Out?

Bazooka theory does not work, nor did threats to investors that the ECB and EMU would be willing to defend the country from speculative attack if necessary.

The same holds true today. The Bigger the Bazooka, the More Money Will be Lost.