Sep 12

Today’s News 12th September 2017

  • Three Of Italy's Top Four Political Parties Seek A New Parallel Currency

    Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

    In a bid to appeal to the growing anti-euro sentiment in Italy, three of Italy’s biggest political parties seek a dual currency.

    Italy’s leading opposition parties are calling for the introduction of a parallel currency to the euro, which they say will boost growth and jobs.

     

    Three of the country’s four largest parties – the Five Star Movement, the Northern League and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia – have proposed introducing a new currency following an election scheduled for next year.

     

    The proposals for a parallel currency have replaced the opposition parties’ previous calls to leave the euro completely.

     

    By settling on a dual currency, analysts say the parties hope to appeal to anti-euro sentiment in the country while avoiding, for now, the upheaval of an outright exit.

     

    A poll by the Winpoll agency in March showed that only around half of Italians back the euro.

     

    As the election nears, and with opinion polls currently pointing to a hung parliament, only the ruling Democratic Party is not proposing changes to the current euro set-up.

    Next General Election

    The next Italian General Election is due to be held no later than May 20, 2018.

    Key Players

    • M5S – Five Star Movement – Beppe Grillo, a comedian. The M5S is variously considered populist, anti-establishment, environmentalist, anti-globalist, and Eurosceptic. The “five stars” are a reference to five key issues for the party: public water, sustainable transport, sustainable development, right to Internet access, and environmentalism. In foreign policy, the M5S has disapproved military interventions of the West in the Greater Middle East (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) as well as any notion of American intervention in Syria.
    • PD – Democratic Party – Matteo Renzi, former prime minister. The PD’s main ideological trends are thus social democracy and the Italian Christian leftist tradition.
    • Northern League – Lega Nord – Matteo Salvini. Under Salvini, the party has emphasized Euroscepticism, opposition to immigration, and other “populist” policies, while forming an alliance with nationalist and right-wing populist parties such as France’s National Front, the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom and the Freedom Party of Austria at the European level.
    • Forza Italia – Forward Italy – Silvio Berlusconi, a four-time Prime Minister. Under Berlusconi, FI’s long-time coalition partner was Lega Nord.

    Silvio Berlusconi is prone to flip-flops and would likely do anything if it brought him back in power. However, PD + FI will likely not come close to 50%.

    Early Elections?

    On May 30, Bloomberg reported Italy Moves Toward Early Vote as Election Law Deal Nears

    Italy’s biggest parties are considering a proportional system similar to the German model with a 5 percent cut-off for smaller parties, and lawmakers are due to discuss a first draft of the new law early next month. An agreement would remove any hindrance to snap elections, eliminating the need to wait for scheduled elections in early 2018.

     

    Ultimately, it’s up to Italian President Sergio Mattarella to make the call on when to dissolve parliament. According to Italian newspapers including Corriere della Sera, Mattarella would prefer to let the government of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, 62, a soft-spoken diplomat and Democratic-Party ally of Renzi’s, stay in power until next year.

     

    While an early vote would put an end to a legislature that already saw three governments in power amid palace coups and constitutional-referendum defeats, a proportional system runs the risk of producing a hung parliament. An election this year would come at a delicate time for Italy, with its banking woes unresolved and the budget law for 2018 still to be approved.

     

    The proposed new law “would likely not facilitate an outright victory by one of the three major political groups” resulting in a hung parliament, said LC Macro Advisers Ltd. founder Lorenzo Codogno who sees the likelihood of early elections at 60 percent.

    That deal fell and I can find no other recent references regarding early elections.

    Left Crumbles

    On June 26, the Guardian reported Italy’s Centre-Right Wins Big in Mayoral Elections as Left Crumbles

    An alliance of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party and the anti-immigrant Northern League won 55% of the votes in Genoa, the northern port city that was a leftwing stronghold but which the right will now govern for the first time in more than 50 years.

     

    PD leader Matteo Renzi, 42, who has been seeking to make a comeback since stepping down as prime minister in December, was the clear loser in Sunday’s vote.

     

    The centre-left has governed Italy for four years, during which time the economy grew by only half the eurozone average. Three different PD premiers have struggled to shore up a banking system strangled by bad loans, and to manage half a million migrants who came by boat from north Africa.

     

    Sunday’s vote – the second round for cities where no one candidate won more than 50% two weeks ago – is one of the last before a general election due by the end of May 2018, but it may not be a reliable indicator of what will happen then. The first-past-the-post voting system used at the municipal level, which favours coalitions, may not be replicated at a national level, where a proportional system is now in place.

     

    Genoa is the latest of a string of defeats in the PD’s traditional strongholds. Last year it lost Turin, Italy’s fourth-largest city, and the capital Rome, both to the Five Star Movement (M5S), which was founded only eight years ago.

     

    M5S, which opinion polls say is slightly more popular than the PD nationwide, performed very badly in the first round of voting on 11 June and made the run-off in only one of the 25 largest cities. It added eight mayors to its modest tally.

     

    “We now have 45 mayors, up from 37 before, which is an increase of 20%,” M5S founder Beppe Grillo said on his blog. “Every damned election we are growing and that is what counts.”

    Two Things

    M5S, NL, and FI appear likely top a combined 50%, perhaps easily. That does not necessarily mean a coalition will form.

    The two things and possibly the only two things that unite the Five Star Movement, the Northern League, and Forza Italia are a desire to crush Matteo Renzi and a desire to get Italy off the Euro.

    And when it comes to Berlusconi’s views on the euro, one has to question his sincerity. He has changed his position many times.

  • All Food Is Gone! Violence Erupts On Caribbean Island Of St. Martin

    Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

    Hurricane Irma ravaged the Caribbean islands last week and wiped entire islands off the map. Now that the food and water have been scavenged from every grocery store on St. Martin, people are resorting to violence.

    The people obviously started with the grocery stores, scavenging what they needed for sustenance; water, crackers, and fruit. But according to the New York Times, by nightfall on Thursday, what had been a search for food took a more menacing turn, as groups of people (some of whom were armed), swooped in and violently took anything of value that was left. Things like electronics, appliances, and vehicles were all stolen.

    The social fabric has begun to fray now that people are without the most basic of essentials: food and water.

     “All the food is gone now,” Jacques Charbonnier, a 63-year-old resident of St. Martin, said in an interview on Sunday. “People are fighting in the streets for what is left.”

    Residents of St. Martin, and elsewhere in the region, spoke about a general disintegration of law and order as survivors struggled in the face of severe food and water shortages, and the absence of electricity and phone service.

    As reports of increasing desperation continued to emerge from the region over the weekend, governments in Britain, France and the Netherlands, which oversee territories in the region, stepped up their response.

     

    They defended themselves against criticism that their reaction had been too slow, and insufficient. Both the French and Dutch governments said they were sending in extra troops to restore order, along with the aid that was being airlifted into the region. –New York Times

    “There was some looting in the first few days, but the Dutch marines and police are on the street to prevent it,” Paul De Windt, publisher of The Daily Herald, a newspaper on the Dutch side, said on Sunday. “Some people steal luxury things and booze, but a lot of people are stealing water and biscuits.”

    The storm directly hit the region beginning on Wednesday. Irma destroyed entire airports and ports, knocked out power and potable water systems, and left tens of thousands of residents and tourists isolated and increasingly desperate for food and water, and unable to go anywhere to get it. The crisis then worsened on Saturday as Hurricane Jose rumbled through the region. Though the islands hit by Irma avoided a direct blow from the second hurricane, its arrival forced the suspension of relief and rescue operations, prolonging the agony for many already desperate to survive.

    According to NBC News, the State Department said Sunday that more than 1,200 United States citizens have been evacuated from the hurricane-damaged island vacation hot spot of St. Martin amid reports of looting and violence – but the Dutch government said reports of a rumored prison break were “unfounded.”

    As preppers are well aware, when the needs of the population cannot be met in an allotted time frame, a phenomena occurs and the mindset shifts in people. They begin to act without thinking and respond to changes in their environment in an emotionally-based manner, thus leading to chaos, instability and a breakdown in our social paradigm. When you take the time to understand how a breakdown behaves and how it progresses, only then can you truly prepare for it. –Ready Nutrition

    People get violent when food and water are scarce. Even minimal prepping and a small safe space for non-perishable food and water would have been an asset to those in the path of Irma.

  • 2,000 Years Of Economic History (In One Chart)

    Long before the invention of modern day maps or gunpowder, the planet’s major powers were already duking it out for economic and geopolitical supremacy.

    Today’s chart tells that story in the simplest terms possible. As Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, by showing the changing share of the global economy for each country from 1 AD until now, it compares economic productivity over a mind-boggling time period.

    Originally published in a research letter by Michael Cembalest of JP Morgan, we’ve updated it based on the most recent data and projections from the IMF. If you like, you can still find the original chart (which goes to 2008) at The Atlantic. It’s also worth noting that the original source for all the data up until 2008 is from the late Angus Maddison, a famous economic historian that published estimates on population, GDP, and other figures going back to Roman times.

    Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

     

    A MAJOR CAVEAT

    If you looked at the chart in any depth, you probably noticed a big problem with it. The time periods between data points aren’t equal – in fact, they are not close at all.

    The first gap on the x-axis is 1,000 years and the second is 500 years. Then, as we get closer to modernity, the chart uses mostly 10 year intervals. Changing the scale like this is a big data visualization “no no”, as rightly pointed out in a blog post by The Economist.

    While we completely agree, we have a made an exception in this case. Why? Because getting good economic data from the early 20th century is already difficult enough – and so trying to find data in regular intervals before then seems like a fool’s errand. Likewise, a stacked bar chart with different years also doesn’t really do this story justice.

    We encountered similar historical data issues in our Richest People of Human History graphic, and at the end of the day decided it was primarily for fun. Like today’s chart, it has its share of imperfections – but ultimately, it provides a great amount of context and serves as a conversation starter.

    OUR INTERPRETATION

    Caveats aside, there are many stories that materialize from this simple chart. They include the colossal impact of the Industrial Revolution on the West, as well as the momentum behind the re-emergence of Asia.

    But there’s one other story that ties it all together: the exponential rate of human economic growth that occurred over the last century.

    For thousands of years, economic progress was largely linear and linked to population growth. Without machines or technological innovations, one person could only produce so much with their time and resources.

    More recently, innovations in technology and energy allowed the “hockey stick” effect to come into play.

    It happened in Western Europe and North America first, and now it’s happening in other parts of the world. As this technological playing field evens, economies like China and India – traditionally some of the largest economies throughout history – are now making their big comeback.

    Editor’s note: We have adjusted the main graphic as of Sep 10, 2017 to change the description of the chart. It now says “Share of GDP (World Powers)” instead of the previous “Share of world GDP”, which was technically an inaccurate description.

  • NASA: "Sun Erupts With Significant Flare"

    Around 12:06 p.m EDT on Sept 10, 2017, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an image of the sun unleashing a massive solar flare from a recently active region. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.  Per NASA,

    This flare is classified as an X8.2-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.  

     

    The X9.3 flare was the largest flare so far in the current solar cycle, the approximately 11-year-cycle during which the sun’s activity waxes and wanes. The current solar cycle began in December 2008, and is now decreasing in intensity and heading toward solar minimum. This is a phase when such eruptions on the sun are increasingly rare, but history has shown that they can nonetheless be intense.

     

    This flare is the capstone on a series of flares from Active Region 2673, which was identified on Aug. 29 and is currently rotating off the front of the sun as part of our star’s normal rotation.

    The flare was captured in the following NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center video.

    NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of the solar flare:


    The flare as seen in the bright flash on the right side on Sept. 10, 2017.

    More details:

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration signals X8.2 (R3-STRONG) X-RAY EVENT OBSERVED AT 10/1606 UTC. Primary areas impact includes ‘large portions of sunlit side of earth’. Possible effects include wide spread HF radio blackouts and navigation degradation through GPS (loss in signal).

    As SWL.com notes, “yesterday’s X8.2 (R3-strong) solar flare from sunspot region 2673 was one of the most spectacular solar flares we have ever seen. Not only was this the second strongest solar flare of the current solar cycle, it also launched an extremely fast and broad coronal mass ejection:

    Following the flare, we quickly reached the strong S3 solar radiation storm level which only takes place about 10 times during a 11 year solar cycle. Possible effects of the ongoing S3 solar radiation storm are: degraded HF radio propagation at polar regions and navigation position errors, satellite effects on imaging systems and solar panel currents, significant radiation hazard to astronauts on extra-vehicular activity (EVA) and high-latitude aircraft passengers.

     

    The coronal mass ejection is as far as we can remember one of the fastest coronal mass ejections of the current solar cycle as we measured the ejecta at a whopping 2,700km/s to 2,800km/s! To compare: The X28 coronal mass ejection from 4 November 2003 left the Sun at 2,400km/s! Goes to show this is an extreme coronal mass ejection that would without a doubt cause intense geomagnetic storming if it would have been launched directly at Earth.

     

    SOHO/LASCO imagery shows an impressive asymmetrical full halo coronal mass ejection which means the outer edges of the solar plasma cloud are directed straight at (or away) from the observing space craft. It is therefor hard to say if this edge is directed towards the front side, the far side or both but taking into account the monstrous coronal wave and the jump in the low-energy EPAM protons, we are fairly confident that we are going to see at least a shock passage or a glancing blow at Earth. You can see the coronal wave in the tweet that we posted yesterday.

     

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    As SWL adds, while the flanks of a coronal mass ejection are always a bit slower than the bulk, the transit time should still be around one and a half day or about 36 to 40 hours (calculated with SARM) which puts the expected impact time of this coronal mass ejection at 06:00 UTC on 12 September 2017 with a plus/minus of 6 hours. The NOAA SWPC has a much later impact time, late on September 13.

    Subsequent coronagraph imagery analysis has been concluded. The full halo coronal mass ejection (CME) was so powerful and widespread, there actually appears to be an Earth directed component, most evident when viewing the LASCO C3 (blue color) video. If so, an impact to the earth’s geomagnetic field may be possible as soon as tomorrow.

    According to the latest tracking models, the edge of the large CME may deliver a glancing blow to our geomagnetic field by Sept. 13th. This combined with an anticipated coronal hole stream may help to enhance activity. A Moderate (G2) storm watch will be in effect.

  • The Next Big Storm

    Irma ain't got nothing on this one…

    There's nowhere to hide!

    Source: MichaelPRamirez.com

  • Pieczenik, Jones Get into Heated Debate Over Trump Conspiracies

    Content originally published at iBankCoin.com

     

    There are some people who apologize for Trump for virtually every single thing he does. They like to blame the usual cast of villains, including Dina Powell, Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, Gen. McMaster, Mattis and Kelly — even his own daughter Ivanka Trump. It’s easy to get swept into drama-filled theories of palace intrigue — depicting a cabal of evil people, all with ties to George Soros, trying to take down Trump.

    But if you followed that logic all the way down to its root, it would suggest that Trump was, in fact, an idiot — unable to manage his affairs, permitting horrible people control and manage him, even isolate him from the grandeur of the alt-right media. None of this is conducive with the overarching theory by his sycophants that the President is always playing 3D intergalactic speed fencing championship tier chess — so they resort to blaming others for isolating the President.

    Case in point. During today’s broadcast of the Alex Jones show, Roger Stone made the outrageous implication that the President was being drugged — as a precursor to a coup. He segued into that after discussing the resignation of long time Trump bodyguard, Keith Schiller. Stone said that Schiller had always been ‘the canary in the coal mine’ for the President and that with him out of the way, forced out by Gen. Kelly, the President’s life was in danger.

    This all makes for a good radio show, drives up the click views on the website — but it cannot be substantiated, aside from a few ‘unnamed sources.’ Stone even said that McMaster made disparaging remarks about Trump while dining with the CEO of Oracle recently, with Jones chiming in that the behavior was in fact ‘treasonous.’

    All of this rhetoric was checked and flushed down a Floridian toilet bowl when Jones called up Dr. Pieczenik to get his take on this ‘bombshell’ news. Starting off the conversation, Dr. Pie chastised him thricely for not being polite enough to ask how he was fairing during Hurricane Irma — then he laid waste to Jones’ conspiracies, pointing out that the President wasn’t a child and was smart enough to manage his own affairs.

    I’ve never seen these two clash. Watch.

  • The United States Of Hubris

    Authored by Antonius Aquinas,

    If anyone should have any questions about whether the United States of America is not the most aggressive, warlike, and terroristic nation on the face of the earth, its latest proposed action against the supposed rogue state of North Korea should allay any such doubts.

    Last week, the US circulated a draft resolution which it intends to present to the UN Security Council that would give the American Navy and Air Force the power to interdict North Korean ships at sea to determine if they were transporting “weaponry material” or fuel and that US forces would be given “the right” to use “all necessary measures” to “enforce compliance.”*

    Not surprisingly, Nikky Haley, the blood-thirsty and incompetent American Ambassador to the UN, has enthusiastically backed the resolution, utterly clueless of its ramifications if passed, the most horrific of which would be the igniting of WWIII.  Trump’s selection of the neocon mouthpiece as UN Ambassador has been a disaster on several fronts: first, it was an early and quite telling sell out of his political base whom he promised an American First foreign policy of less belligerency and intervention.  Second, Haley had no foreign policy experience and has made a fool of herself internationally on more than one occasion with her inane statements.

    That the US is even considering such a provocative scheme once again shows the hubris which exists within its vast corridors of power.  Any other country which would suggest such an audacious act would be rightly condemned, ostracized, and labeled as a rogue state.  Yet, it is US lawmakers, policy wonks, and the CIA/NSA-directed American press corps that charge others (mostly those who do not kowtow to US dictates) of “terrorism.”

    This year, as of yet, North Korea has not been responsible for a single death of a foreign national.  Nor has the tiny communist state ever used a nuclear weapon against an enemy like the US did with its immoral and hellish destruction of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the conclusion of WWII.

    On the other hand, since the start of the Trump Presidency, US-backed forces have been responsible for the deaths of some 3700 civilians in Mosul, Iraq.  This is not to mention its murderous armed strikes in Yemen and Afghanistan.  Nor is American aggression limited to direct military action, but its arms supply sales to despots and its puppets has escalated tensions and makes conflicts that do break out much more brutal.

    Fortunately, for the future of global peace, US hegemony is coming to an end.  The nation is hopelessly broke while its welfare/warfare economy is beyond reform and faltering badly which means that when the inevitable collapse does happen, it will mean the end or a serious pull back of the Empire.  A similar situation took place in Great Britain in 1945 after it took part in another senseless global conflict which liquidated the British Empire once and for all.

    Any sober thinking realist would recognize the deteriorating societal and economic conditions at home, yet because of the collective hubris embedded in the political class, American bellicosity continues.

    The last hope of changing US overseas affairs in a peaceful direction was Donald Trump who throughout the campaign spoke of an American First foreign policy which garnered widespread support.  Within Trump’s foreign policy statements, however, there were many troubling ones: call for increased defense spending, “wiping out ISIS,” updating the nation’s nuclear arsenal, putting an end to the North Korean “problem.”  The encouraging words about non-intervention and getting along with Russia were quickly scuttled while the militaristic side of Trump’s campaign rhetoric has won the day.

    History is replete with examples of hubristic regimes which appeared invincible and everlasting, but quickly fall with severe and quite nasty retribution from their enemies.  While the US goes about the world threatening, bombing, and destabilizing those it does not like, it too, possibly in the not too distant future, will face the deserved wrath of those it has humiliated and terrorized.

  • This Is The Dollar's Worst Year Since The Plaza Accord

    Entering 2017, the USD had been up four years running on a broad trade-weighted basis with 8.6% gains in 2014, 10.7% appreciation in 2015 and a more modest 3.0% move in 2016.

    That last year was a less dramatic move, but from May 2nd lows to the 15+ year peak on January 7th, the buck was up almost 9.3% or 14.5% at an annual pace.

    Unfortunately for greenback bulls, things have gone wildly off-script since.

    As Bespoke Investment Group details, the dollar has reversed its entire May 2016-January 2017 rally in a move that’s frankly shocked the FX world.

    As shown below, for the broad trade weight dollar, this was the worst year on record through last Friday (latest data available) and the route has gotten worse this week with the Bloomberg USD Index (a decent proxy for the USD broad trade-weighted index) down a whopping 1.5% this week, its worst since the five days ending May 19th.

    Source: Bespoke Investment Group

    Given that US economic data has actually held up quite well and there have been no radical policy shifts from the FOMC, that’s a pretty staggering move.

    On a narrow major currency basis, the USD is just as weak. As shown below, this was the worst YTD through September 1st since 1986 (the year following the Plaza Accord agreement to devalue the USD) and the second-worst ever after this week’s decline, besting the 10% devaluation of the dollar engineered in 1973.

    Source: Bespoke Investment Group

    Again, the contrast between the surging dollar post-election and the strong USD environment that prevailed for years before that event has been incredible: the dollar just won’t stop falling after it wouldn’t stop rising for years.

  • WTF Chart Of The Day: BoJ Now Owns 75% of Japanese ETFs

    While ECB President Mario Draghi faces his own German-bond-market constraints in his hubristic bond-buying-bonanza, cornering him to taper sooner than later; the Bank of Japan appears to have thrown every textbook out of the window and cranked their plunge-protection to '11', as Bloomberg reports, The Bank of Japan now holds 75% of the nation's ETFs.

    Since December 2010 – when The Bank of Japan held no ETFs at all – the central bank has been buying ETFs  (doubling its annual buying target to 6 trillion yen in July 2016) as part of unprecedented economic stimulus. While the Nikkei 225 Stock Average has risen 89% since December 2010, the BOJ’s dominance of the ETF market has raised concerns.

    In fact, in a circular vicious cycle, the Bank of Japan’s purchases have helped assets managed by ETFs surge almost 10-fold since the end of 2010 to 25 trillion yen ($230 billion).

    As the chart below shows, the central bank now owns three quarters of such funds by market value…

    Even the head of Japan’s stock exchange Akira Kiyotasays he is unsettled by the risk of "constant distortion" posed by the central bank’s exchange-traded fund buying.

    The impact on Japan’s overall stock market may be limited because the total value of BOJ ETF holdings is the equivalent of just 5 percent of the Topix market capitalization.

    But, any tapering of such purchases may erode demand, particularly for stocks in which it is a dominant shareholder.

    At this rate, the BOJ could dominate 80 percent of the ETF market by year-end.

    Once it decides to stop buying, or even start selling, it’s not clear what the stock market impact will be or who will buy that amount of ETFs.

Digest powered by RSS Digest

%d bloggers like this: