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Belle International Holdings
24 февраля 2014, 11:08

Утренний брифинг от Saxo Bank: обзор рынков на 24 февраля 2014 года

Форекс: Евро торгуется с понижением  Этим утром евро торгуется с понижением относительно большинства своих главных валютных конкурентов. Между тем, на минувших выходных президент Европейского центрального банка Марио Драги (Mario Draghi) подтвердил готовность Банка к действиям в случае ухудшения прогноза по инфляции для региона евро. На фоне этого сегодня в фокус рынка попадёт окончательный показатель инфляции потребительских цен Еврозоны, который, согласно ожиданиям, должен свидетельствотвать о месячном снижении потребительских цен в январе. Кроме того, германские индексы деловых настроений от IFO также окажутся под пристальным взглядом членов биржевой торговли, что поможет им определиться с аппетитом к риску. Что касается США, то здесь, учитывая экстремальные погодные условия в стране, оказавшие влияние на крупнейшую экономику мира, трейдеры сосредоточат своё внимание на индексах деловой активности в производственном секторе от ФРС Далласа и Чикаго. В 6 часов утра по GMT евро потерял 0,1 процента и 0,2 процента против американского доллара и британского фунта, торгуясь по цене 1,3738 доллара и 0,8253 фунта соответственно. Японская иена выросла на 0,2 процента и 0,3 процента по отношению к доллару США и евро соответственно. Австралийский доллар опустился на 0,1 процента в сравнении с американским долларом. Европа: Рынок откроется в «минусе» Открытие германского фондового индекса DAX и французского CAC ожидается на 37-42 пункта и 10-12 пунктов ниже соответственно. Индекс Британской фондовой биржи FTSE100 откроется понижением на 22-33 пункта. Публикация показателя инфляции потребительских цен Еврозоны; индекса делового климата, оценки текущей ситуации и индекса экономических ожиданий Германии от IFO; а также индекса цен на жильё Великобритании от Nationwide запланирована на сегодня. Ocean Yield ASA (OCY), Kingspan Group Plc (KSP), Almirall SA (ALM), GC Rieber Shipping ASA (RISH), Bell AG (BELL), HSBC Holdings (HSBA), Bunzl (BNZL), Hiscox (HSX), Bovis Homes Group (BVS), XP Power (XPP) и International Ferro Metals (IFL) отчитаются по результатам своей деятельности. Двое владельцев Scania AB (SCVB) отклонили предложение Volkswagen AG (VOW3) в 6,7 миллиарда евро на покупку дополнительной доли в компании. BDO Unibank Inc., ведущий банк Филиппин, заключил окончательное соглашение о покупке трастового бизнеса Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) в Маниле. Numericable Group SA (NUM) ведёт переговоры о покупке мобильного оператора SFR у компании Vivendi (VIV) более чем за 15 миллиардов евро и планирует завершить сделку в течение нескольких недель, – пишет «Les Echos». По информации «The Financial Times», Discovery Communications обсуждает с British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) вопрос подачи совместной заявки на приобретение британского телеканала Channel 5. Согласно «The Sunday Times», RSA Insurance Group (RSA) собирается отменить выплату дивидендов за 2013 год и рассматривает возможность выпуска новых акций в качестве одного из вариантов укрепления своего баланса. Азия: Торги в основном в «красном»  Этим утром азиатские рынки торгуются преимущественно на отрицательной территории. В Японии акции финансового сектора Mizuho Financial Group (8411), Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316), Nomura Holdings (8604) и Daiwa Securities Group (8601) зафиксировали убытки. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011) и Kawasaki Heavy Industries (7012) развернулись вниз. Согласно СМИ, японское правительство разработало новые положения, которые пересматривают запрет на экспорт оружия. В 6 часов утра по GMT индекс токийской фондовой биржи Nikkei 225 отступил на 1,1 процента, торгуясь на отметке 14706,7 пункта. В Китае рынки торгуются в резком «минусе» на сообщениях о том, что национальные банки ограничили кредитование сектора недвижимости. Poly Real Estate Group (600048), China Merchants Property Development (000024) и China Vanke Company (000002) оказались среди отстающих, показав снижение. В Гонконге в преддверии сегодняшнего релиза квартального отчёта о прибыли HSBC Holdings (5) упали в цене. Belle International Holdings (1880), напротив, подскочили ввиду роста годовой чистой прибыли. В Южной Корее NCSoft Corporation (036570) и KT Corporation (030200) уменьшились в стоимости. США: Фьючерсы торгуются ниже  В 6 часов утра по GMT фьючерсы на S&P 500 торгуются на 2,5 пункта ниже. Публикация индекса национальной деловой активности от ФРС Чикаго и индекса деловой активности в производственном секторе от ФРБ Далласа планируется на сегодня. EOG Resources (EOG), Vornado Realty Trust (VNO), SolarCity Corporation (SCTY), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Zulily (ZU), Middleby Corporation (MIDD) и SINA Corporation (SINA) объявят о своих результатах сегодня. В пятницу в рамках продлённых торгов MDC Partners (MDCA), Vocera Communications (VCRA) и Blucora (BCOR), развернувшись после потерь регулярной сессии, резко выросли на 13,1 процента, 9,8 процента и 8,9 процента соответсвенно. Humana (HUM), NutriSystem (NTRI) и Ultra Petroleum Corporation (UPL), напротив, снизились на 4,5 процента, 4,0 поцента и 3,9 процента соответственно. Во время пятничной регулярной торговой сессии американский фондовый индекс S&P 500 опустился на 0,2 процента после того, как представители Федрезерва сообщили о маловероятности сокращения темпов программы стимулирования экономики. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (COG) продемонстрировали падение на 8,2 процента на урезании брокером целевой цены акций. Тем не менее, как заявила компания в четверг, данные её деятельности по четвёртому кварталу совпали с прогнозом рынка. Newmont Mining Corporation (NEM) потеряли 4,4 процента после того, как показатели за четвёртый квартал зафиксировали чистый убыток компании ввиду снижения рыночной стоимости и слабых цен. Intuit (INTU), наоборот, оказались в лидерах, прибавив 4,6 процента благодаря прибыльному второму кварталу и продажам выше оценок рынка. Ameren Corporation (AEE) поднялись на 5,3 процента после того, как компания объявила, что Illinois Commerce Commission одобрила проект на передачу электроэнергии; так, длина предполагаемой сети будет 400 миль. Высокие результаты четвёртого квартала способствовали росту Priceline.com (PCLN) на 2,5 процента. Juniper Networks (JNPR) повысились на два процента после заявления компании о планах вернуть своим акционерам по меньшей мере три миллиарда долларов и сократить расходы на 160 миллионов долларов. Сводка последних новостей М. Драги: В ситуации ухудшения ценового прогноза ЕЦБ готов действовать Глава ЕЦБ Марио Драги (Mario Draghi) сообщил, что в случае ухудшения ценового прогноза политики готовы к введению дополнительных стимулов, хотя, по его словам, пока нет особых причин для дефляционных страхов. По словам М. Драги, к моменту следующего заседания 6 марта, когда будет представлен первичный прогноз по инфляции на 2016 год, центральный банк уже будет обладать полным набором информации, необходимой для принятия решения о целесообразности введения стимулирующих мер. Страны G20 обещают ускорить мировой экономический рост Как сообщили министры финансов и главы центральных банков стран Большой двадцатки (G20) на встрече в Сиднее, рост мировой экономики, по крайней мере, на два процентных пункта, произойдёт в течение следующих пяти лет при содействии этих стран, что будет сопровождаться значительным увеличением количества рабочих мест. Дж. Буллард ожидает экономический рост в США и продолжения «сворачивания» QE Глава ФРБ Сент-Луиса Джеймс Буллард (James Bullard) в своём выступлении на финансовом форуме подчеркнул, что он по-прежнему ожидает хороший год для экономики США, а причиной слабых последних экономических данных стала неблагоприятная зимняя погода. Он также добавил, что центральный банк США намерен продолжать сокращение своей программы покупки облигаций. Р. Фишер поддерживает продолжение сокращения QE По мнению главы ФРБ Далласа Ричард Фишер (Richard Fisher), центральному банку следует продолжить сокращение своей программы покупки активов, поскольку, как показала практика, смягчительных мер было предостаточно, чтобы помочь экономике. Китайские цены на жильё идут вверх В январе на ежегодной основе средние цены на новое жильё в 70 крупных городах Китая поднялись на 9,6 процента относительно роста предыдущего месяца в 9,9 процента. Материал предоставлен Saxo Bank

03 января 2014, 16:03

Snow Day Market Summary

In a day that will be remembered for the first major snowstorm to hit New York in 2014 and test the clean up capabilities and resolve of the city's new populist mayor (not starting on a good note following reports that JFK airport will be closed at least until 8:30 am Eastern), it was only fitting that there was virtually no overnight news aside for the Chinese non-manufacturing PMI which dropped from 56.0 to 54.6, a new 4 month low. Still, following yesterday's ugly start to the new year, stocks in Europe traded higher this morning, in part driven by value related flows following the sell-off yesterday. Retailers led the move higher, with Next shares in London up as much as 11% which is the most since January 2009 and to its highest level since 1988 after the company lifted profit forecast after strong Christmas trading performance. Other UK based retailers with likes of AB Foods and M&S also advanced around 2%. Looking elsewhere, peripheral bonds continued to outperform their core counterparts, with IT/GE 10y spread below 200bps mark for the first time since July 2011 and SP/GE 10y spread below 200bps mark for the first time since May 2011. The recent flow into peripheral bonds said to have driven by domestic accounts, together with international real money accounts putting on new trades for 2014. A combination of a sharp drop in EONIA fixing, together with the release of better than expected UK macroeconomic data meant that GBP/USD outperformed EUR/USD. On that note, analysts have noted that sharp decline in EONIA fixing leaves EUR/USD vulnerable to the downside. In summary, the Italian and Dutch markets are the best-performing larger bourses, Swiss the worst. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Portuguese 10yr bond yields fall; Spanish yields decline. Commodities little changed, with zinc, nickel underperforming and silver outperforming. New York ISM, U.S. vehicle sales data released later. Looking at the day ahead, it will likely be a quiet end to the week with little on the data docket to note and inclement weather on the US east coast possibly preventing some market participants from returning to their desks. Today’s European data include Euroarea money supply and Spanish/Italian CPI readings. December auto sales is the main data release in the US. Bernanke, Lacker, Plosser and Stein are scheduled to speak at the American Economic Association annual meeting in Philadelphia although some may not make it due to the weather. Recap: S&P 500 futures down 0% to 1827.3 Stoxx 600 up 3% to 326.7 US 10Yr yield down 1bps to 2.98% German 10Yr yield down 1bps to 1.94% MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.4% to 140.3 Gold spot up 0.5% to $1231/oz EUROPE 17 out of 19 Stoxx 600 sectors rise; retail, real estate outperform, insurance, basic resources underperform 67.5% of Stoxx 600 members gain, 29.8% decline Top Stoxx 600 gainers: Next PLC  +8.6%, Banco Espirito Santo SA  +5.1%, Dixons Retail PLC  +4.9%, Telecom Italia SpA +4.7%, Valiant Holding AG  +4.2%, Marks & Spencer Group PLC +4%, Debenhams PLC  +3.5%, Eutelsat Communications SA +3.5%, Hays PLC  +2.9%, Azimut Holding SpA  +2.9% Top Stoxx 600 decliners: International Personal Finance -2.7%, Swiss Re AG -2.7%, DKSH Holding AG -2.3%, Remy Cointreau SA -2.3%, Lonmin PLC -2.2%, Commerzbank AG -1.6%, Rexam PLC -1.3%, Rotork PLC -1.2%, Pearson PLC -1.2%, Coca- Cola HBC AG -1.2% ASIA Asian stocks fall with the Hang Seng underperforming. MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.4% to 140.3 Nikkei 225 closed, Hang Seng down 2.2%, Kospi down 1.1%,  Shanghai Composite down 1.2%, ASX down 0.3%, Sensex down 0.3% 2 out of 10 sectors rise with health care, consumer outperforming and energy, tech underperforming Gainers: ANTA Sports Products Ltd  +8.7%, Celltrion Inc +6.1%, Chongqing Changan Automobile C  +5.8%, Advanced Info Service PCL  +4.8%, Kasikornbank PCL   +4.7%, Kasikornbank PCL  +3.8%, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd  +3.5%, OCI Co Ltd +3.4%, United Spirits Ltd  +3.3% Decliners: Thai Oil PCL -6.9%, China Taiping Insurance Holdin -6%, Eclat Textile Co Ltd -5.8%, Banpu PCL -5.4%, Belle International Holdings L -5.1%, Astra Agro Lestari Tbk PT -4.9%, First Pacific Co Ltd/Hong Kong -4.9%, Adaro Energy Tbk PT -4.7%, CITIC Securities Co Ltd -4.7%, E-Mart Co Ltd -4.4% Overnight headline bulletin fromRanSquawk European stocks trade higher following yesterday's sell-off, with the peripheral markets outperforming as Italian and Spanish spreads continue yesterday's tightening. UK Mortgage Approvals came in at the highest since January 2008, with UK Nationwide House Prices showing the biggest rise since August 2009. Going forward, market participants will get to digest the release of the latest EIA Nat Gas Storage report, DoE data and US vehicle sales. Asian Headlines Chinese Non-Manufacturing PMI (Dec) M/M 54.6 (Prev. 56.0); 4-month low South Korean finance minister Hyun stated a need to closely monitor JPY's movements, adding that they may need to strengthen support measures for smaller companies following the weak JPY and that Japan may face international pressure on currency. EU & UK Headlines UK Mortgage Approvals (Nov) M/M 70.8K vs. Exp. 69.7K (Prev. 67.7K, Rev. to 68.0K) - highest since January 2008 - UK November net lending to non-financial businesses at GBP -4.656bln vs October GBP -1.121bln, biggest fall since series began in May 2011. UK PMI Construction (Dec) M/M 62.1 vs Exp. 62.0 (Prev. 62.6) UK Nationwide House PX (Dec) M/M 1.4% vs Exp. 0.7% (Prev. 0.6%, Rev. 0.7%) - Biggest rise since August 2009 - Nationwide House PX NSA (Dec) Y/Y 8.4% vs Exp. 7.1% (Prev. 6.5%) Spanish Unemployment Net ('000s) (Dec) M/M -107.6 (Prev. -2.5) Swiss PMI Manufacturing (Dec) M/M 53.9 vs 56.3 (Prev. 56.5) Analysts at UBS believe that any BoE rate increases may be as small as 5bps. Saying that the withdrawal will be cautious if inflation and wage growth remain subdued, suggests 5bps rate rises to emphasize that any more will be incremental and hesitant. German government will not increase taxes, according to draft of annual economic report of German government. No major Tier 1 data from the US data, with focus on the energy markets as today sees the release of the DoE Inventories and EIA Natural Gas Storage Change. US volumes today may be impeded by adverse weather conditions. According to the National Weather Service, a combination of storms will impact areas from the southern Appalachians into New England into Friday. Heaviest snow will fall from central New York to the Massachusetts coast. Blizzard conditions are possible for eastern Long Island and the Massachusetts coast. Bitter cold will move into the Midwest and East following the storm. Equities Following yesterday's sell-off in European equities, stocks have managed to trade with gains this morning, with Next in the UK being the notable outperformer. This follows the Co.'s pre-market update, with Q4 sales coming in significantly higher than expected. This news for Next has seen other UK stocks including AB foods and M&S trade higher for the session. Elsewhere, the periphery is leading the way across Europe, with Telecom Italia supporting the FTSE MIB after pre-market reports that Telefonica are to review the feasibility of Telecom Italia Brazil unit breakup next week. FX In FX markets overnight, the South Korean Finance Minister said that they need to closely monitor JPY's movements and that Japan may face international pressure on currency with USD/JPY then running through stops at 104.50 to the downside. Following the release of a better than expected UK PMI Construction, GBP/USD has outperformed EUR/USD, with EUR also under pressure from JPY strength. There is also market talk of real money accounts selling in EUR/GBP. Analysts at Credit Suisse say that any setbacks in GBP/USD towards 1.6320/00 offers a chance to re-establish long positions as med-term outlook remains bullish Commodities Nomura forecasts Brent oil average price at USD 100/bbl in 2014 and forecasts WTI crude average price at USD 90/bbl in 2014. Iraq starts fixing oil pipeline that was damaged by a bomb yesterday evening. There is no definite date to complete repairs as there was extensive damage according to North Oil. China's November copper products output rises 25% on year to 1.5 mil mt. * * * Finally, here is the complete overnight recap from DB's Jim Reid DM equities had a soft start to 2014 with both the S&P500 (-0.89%) and Stoxx600 (-0.74%) recording their worst opening day performances since 2008. S&P500 volumes were on the low-side, even for a first trading day of the year, and it may drop further today after winter storm Hercules hit the US north east late on Thursday prompting a state of emergency to be declared in New York State and New Jersey. There are reports of flight cancellations, highway closures and reduced transport services in major cities in the north east, while NYC is expected to receive up to 9 inches of snow on Thursday night/Friday morning accompanied by a sharp drop in temperatures. Coming back to markets, yesterday saw a partial reversal of one of the major themes of 2013, being that of stronger DM equities and subdued fixed income performance. All ten industry sectors in the S&P500 and Stoxx600 closed in the red yesterday, with utilities, financials and resources bearing the brunt of the selloff. On the fixed income side, peripheral European bonds had an impressive day with both Spain and Italian 10 year yields closing below the 4% mark. US treasury yields reached an early high 3.05% before rallying to close at 2.989% (-4bp on the day) - partially reversing some of the losses from the last trading day of 2013. The weaker-than-expected ISM data (more below) helped sentiment in USTs as did the weakness in US equities which opened lower and stayed low for the entire session. The USD had a strong start to the year (USD index +0.65%) while emerging market assets experienced the opposite as worries permeated across Turkey, Thailand and LATAM. The MSCI EM index fell 1.2% for its largest drop in more than a month and the TRY, BRL and MXN all struggled against the USD. Reviewing the data flow, the latest round of ISM/PMI surveys showed that manufacturing activity ended 2013 on a mixed note. The US manufacturing ISM for December fell 0.3pt from November’s levels to 57.0 but this was still slightly above the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 56.8. DB’s economists noted that this was a similar performance to the Chicago PMI which was released earlier in the week, but they also noted some positives in ISM report including the fact that both the new orders (64.2 vs. 63.6 previous) and employment components (56.9 vs. 56.5 previous) made new multi-year highs. The ISM data had minimal effect on markets though 10yr yields dropped a couple of basis points following its release. Across the Atlantic, the Euro-area manufacturing PMI for December came out in line with the flash estimate at 52.7 but the surprise was in the strength of the numbers in Spain (50.8 vs 49.8 forecast) and Italy (53.3 vs 51.7 forecast). Meanwhile in the core, the divergence between Germany and France continued to widen (+1.1 to 52.7 for & -1.4 to 47.0 respectively). Outside of the manufacturing data, US initial  jobless claims for the last full week of 2013 dropped -2k to 339k though the week-to-week numbers have been impacted by seasonal factors of late. Looking at overnight markets, Asian equities are taking the lead of the US and Europe with losses paced by the Hang Seng (-1.9%) and KOSPI (-1.1%). USDJPY remains under some pressure, dropping 0.6% early today while Japanese stock markets remain closed for New Year holidays. All eyes remain on the wobbles in EM and the latest data flow from China hasn’t helped sentiment there either. The official Chinese December services PMI (released overnight) came in at 54.6 which is a four-month low and is 1.4 pts lower than November’s reading. This follows the weaker-than-expected official manufacturing PMI (51.0 vs 51.2 expected) released earlier this week. Thailand’s SET equity index is faring better today (-0.7%) following yesterday’s 5.2% fall which brought the index to an 18-month low. Asian EM credit spreads are about 3-4bp wider in general. Chinese bank funding pressures remain of some concern but the 7-day repo rate has eased around 15bp this morning. Amid the recent worries about debt levels at Chinese local governments, there is talk that a number of local governments may tap onshore Chinese USD funding markets after Shanghai Chengtou Corp issued the first onshore USD-denominated bond by a local-government financing vehicle in China as yuan borrowing costs surge (Bloomberg). Returning to DM, 2013 will be partly remembered for being a robust year for M&A, leveraged financings and IPOs particularly in North America – and there are signs that 2014 will be another healthy year for corporate activity. The buyouts of Verizon Wireless, Heinz and Dell were amongst the standout buyout deals of 2013, and the first out of the gates this year is auto-maker Fiat who announced on New Year’s Day a $4.4bn deal to acquire the remaining 41% portion of Chrysler. The fully-merged Fiat-Chrysler group is aiming to list in New York within the year according to the Financial Times. Speaking of buyouts, it will be also interesting to track the LBO pipeline with the  improving optimism in that market evident in the latest buyout stats from Reuters that show that the median EBITDA multiple in US LBOs jumped to 9.8x in 2013 from 8.3x in 2012, citing data from market research firm Preqin. Thomson Reuters also notes that the US leveraged bank lending posted a record $510bn in volumes in 2013 (up 55% over 2012) and the average LBO debt levels crept up to 6.2x in 2013. So valuations and leverage levels crept upwards in 2013, supported by accommodative debt and equity funding markets - whether this can be sustained in 2014 is the big question. On a related note, following a gain of more than 30% in 2013, the S&P500 is predicted to gain around 5.5% in 2014 according to the average of 20 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That outlook is the lowest forecast since 31 Dec 2004. Looking at the day ahead, it will likely be a quiet end to the week with little on the data docket to note and inclement weather on the US east coast possibly preventing some market participants from returning to their desks. Today’s European data include Euroarea money supply and Spanish/Italian CPI readings. December auto sales is the main data release in the US. Bernanke, Lacker, Plosser and Stein are scheduled to speak at the American Economic Association annual meeting in Philadelphia.        

09 сентября 2013, 01:05

Slumping Retail Sales Suggest China Is Tipping Into Recession

Here’s a paradox: Manufacturers are seeing big sales increases in China while retailers in the country are struggling, losing money, closing stores, going out of business.  Car companies, for instance, are in love with the country.  The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported bellwether passenger car sales jumped 13.4% in the first seven months of this year over the same period in 2012. Car dealers, however, are not so enamored.  Look under the hood, and it’s not hard to see why.  Last year, they were selling autos fast and furiously and carried, on average, only two weeks of inventory.  This year, they have at least three months of stock in the showrooms, in part because manufacturers, wanting to keep factory lines humming, are requiring them to hold that amount on hand.  Some unfortunate car retailers are, at the moment, stuck with five months worth of cars. Auto manufacturers are also benefiting from independent dealers gaming the system.  Some of them are actually buying cars shipped to their showrooms so that they qualify for manufacturer incentive payments. In a few instances, desperate dealers are going to absurd lengths to qualify for the bonuses.  One showroom in China will let you drive away a car after making a down payment.  That doesn’t sound unexceptional until you hear the other terms: you will never make another payment on your loan, you will get your down payment back in two years, and you will then own the car free and clear.  The dealer, incredibly, can make this arrangement work through a combination of manufacturer zero-down financing and incentives for reaching sales targets, yet the too-good-to-be-true terms indicate the car industry is approaching shaky ground. The problem in autos also plagues other sectors.  The biggest disparity between manufacturer sales versus dealer sales is among European luxury brands, especially those in high-end fashion and cosmetics.  Luxury sales surveyed by J Capital Research in the period from June to early August show a falloff of 20% across China.  “Durable goods appear to be stacking up in warehouses all over the country, a phenomenon that illustrates some of the distorting effects of engorging an economy on credit,” writes Anne Stevenson-Yang of that survey firm.  Brand owners can manufacture beyond reasonable requirements because credit is available and cheap.  In China, the name of the game is market share, and state banks are willing to support the ambitions of brand owners to produce in excess of demand.  That means, among other things, that Beijing’s retail sales number does not reflect the state of consumerism in China.  In fact, the National Bureau of Statistics includes in this closely watched figure items when they are shipped from the factory, not when they are sold to end users.  That’s one of the reasons why NBS can claim that retail sales climbed a robust 13.2% in July from a year ago. Double-digit growth, month after month?  Don’t tell that to hard-pressed Chinese retailers.  As , a footwear seller with more than 18,000 outlets in 360 Chinese cities, stated recently, “The reality behind the numbers is gloomier.”  And according to China Lilang, a menswear retailer, “Consumer sentiment showed no sign of significant recovery, affecting many businesses.” Consumers are in fact cautious, remaining wary.  Chinese households saved a remarkable 38% of disposable income last year—well up from less than 20% in the mid-1990s—and that percentage should climb even higher this year.  “As a defensive reaction, consumers are becoming more inclined to save and less willing to spend,” said Belle International.  That assessment is consistent with the findings of James Roy of Consultancy China Market Research Group.  Referring to middle-class consumers earning $6,000-$15,000 a year, he said this to Reuters: “Their sentiment and confidence is very negative from what we found and so that is going to hurt some of the mid-tier consumer retail brands.” Unsold inventory counts as gross domestic product, so Chinese growth figures still look healthy.  Eventually, however, overproduction will take its toll on factory output.  In China, that takes about a year according to trend-spotter Stevenson-Yang, who cites the examples of construction equipment makers after the stimulus boom of 2009-2010 and sportswear companies after the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.  The same is inevitably going to happen to other sectors, probably by around the end of this year if the pattern holds this time. A clue that the economy is decelerating is the dismal performance of companies that either cannot or will not stockpile goods.  As Stevenson-Yang tells us, “the range of reported growth for Chinese supermarkets and restaurant chains since the second half of 2012, as reported by overseas-listed companies, is from -20% to +4.5%, with most showing slightly negative to flat growth.”  Foreign companies in China are definitely feeling the chill.  reported a 20% fall in same-store sales in Q2.  The company blames the avian flu scare that impacted KFC.  McDonald’s—less convincingly—also used that excuse for a 6.1% drop in comparable Q2 sales.  Coca-Cola was “even,” down from 7% growth in the same quarter in 2012 due to “economic slowdown, poor weather, and competitive activity.”  How about world-beater Walmart?  That would be 2.5% growth in comparable store sales, impressive considering there was a 6.8% decline in store traffic. Looking for a bright spot in Chinese retailing?  Try the gold sector, but that is probably due more to hoarding and informal capital flight than anything else.  In reality, the good fortune of gold sellers is not a good sign for anyone else. Analysts, mostly relying on official data, think the Chinese economy is stabilizing.  The country’s consumers, however, are telling us something else.  Follow me on Twitter @GordonGChang

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26 августа 2013, 18:44

Сегодня на площадках АТР поднялись фондовые индексы

Цена на акции гонконгского оператора магазинов женской обуви Belle International Holdings Ltd. подскочили на 6,1%.

30 марта 2013, 19:36

Depositor Haircuts: The New Normal

Stephen LendmanActivist Post On March 29, Cyprus Mail said banks opened Thursday. They did so amid calm. Long lines queued. People waited patiently. A feared stampede didn't materialize. Whether it's the calm before the storm remains to be seen. Looting Cypriot bank accounts reflects the new normal. It set a precedent. It did so for Europe. More on that below. Wall Street banks operate the same way. So did MF Global. Grand theft reflects official policy. Money is made the old-fashioned way. It's stolen. Nothing's done to stop it. Corrupt politicians and regulators permit it. They do so for benefits they derive.Scamming investors is commonplace. Goldman Sachs derisively calls them "muppets." MF Global's CEO Jon Corzine formerly headed Goldman Sachs. He looted customer accounts. He did so brazenly. He used client money to speculate. More went for internal purposes. Much went to cover debt obligations and losses. Top firm executives made millions. They did so at customers' expense. Financial reform accomplished nothing. Grand theft is institutionalized. Europe's no different from America. Anything goes is policy. Banks deposits were considered safe. No longer. Eurocrats changed things. Euro Group head Jeroen Dijsselbloem explained. Expect more wealth extracted from depositors. Cyprus established a template. Bank accounts in other troubled economies aren't safe. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; "If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be 'Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that," he asked? "What can you do to recapitalize yourself?' " "If the bank can’t do it, then we'll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders. We'll ask them to contribute in recapitalizing the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders." "The consequences may be that it’s the end of story, and that is an approach that I think, now that we are out of the heat of the crisis, we should take." In late February, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure suggested raiding depositor accounts for bail-ins, saying: "There needs to be an appropriate burden-sharing….because we need to achieve debt sustainability." At the time, he suggested not doing it across the board. Whether he meant it isn't clear. He added that he doesn't "pre-judge any instruments because the vocabulary matters, and there are many ways to achieve burden-sharing." It bears repeating. Grand theft is official policy. Even bank accounts aren't safe. Market analyst Marc Faber believes "governments one day (will) take away 20 - 30% of (his) wealth." There's no place to hide.German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble proposed a 40% haircut on all deposits. So does IMF head Christine Lagarde. Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said large uninsured Laiki Bank depositors could lose up to 80% of their money. Other European depositors race similar risks. So do people elsewhere. Some may lose everything. It's the new normal. Personal savings are up for grabs. Bank bailouts will be borne on the backs of ordinary people. Think it can't happen here? Think again. There's no place to hide. Ellen Brown explained. Banks legally own depositor funds, she said. "Our money becomes the bank’s, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay." Banks once repaid depositors on demand. A joint December 10, 2012 FDIC-Bank of England (BOE) paper changed things. Plans to loot customer accounts were made earlier. The Bank for International Settlements originated them. It's the privately owned central bank for central bankers. Major ones have final say. Looting depositor accounts is policy. Cyprus isn't a one-off. Guaranteed insured deposits don't matter. They're up for grabs like all others. It'll be done clever ways or outright. Brown said the FCIC-BOE plan involves converting deposits (IOU promises to pay) into bank equity. They get our money. We get bank stock. Ready cash on demand is gone. Whether it's ever returned, who knows. Take the money and run looks more than ever like policy. Depositors anywhere may be hung out to dry. Even gold and silver in safety deposit boxes aren't safe. Not in America. Homeland Security told banks in writing. It may inspect their contents on demand. Under Patriot Act provisions, it may seize them with no warrant. It can do so anywhere. Banco de Mattress isn't safe. Investor Jim Rogers said "run for the hills now. I'm doing it." Cyprus is no one-off. "I want to make sure that I don't get trapped," he said. "Think of all the poor souls that just thought they had a simple bank account." "Now they find out that they are making a 'contribution' to the stability of Cyprus. The gall of these politicians." "If you're going to listen to government, you're going to go bankrupt very quickly." "I, for one, am making sure I don't have too much money in any one specific bank account anywhere in the world, because now there is a precedent," "The IMF has said 'sure, loot the bank accounts. The EU has said 'loot the bank accounts, so you can be sure that other countries when problems come, are going to say, 'Well, it's condoned by the EU. It's condoned by the IMF. So let's do it too.' " The Daily Bell asked "What Is The REAL Euro End Game? It is time to apply the free-market to bank depositors." Strategy involves shifting responsibility from taxpayers to depositors. Things ahead won't be the same. Eurocrats' policy is wrongheaded. They're deepening crisis conditions, not alleviating them. They believe achieving "full-on political union" depends on it. Their well-documented comments reflect it."….Cyprus shock and subsequent statements are not only deliberate, but have contributed to spreading uncertainty throughout Europe." "Now people no longer trust their banks, contributing to their destabilization." "If you have a bank crisis, the last thing you want to do is further destabilize trust and confidence in the system. But Brussels Eurocrats have done just that." "Don't think it was a mistake. If one accepts that line of thinking, the ramifications are serious and deep from a sociopolitical, political and investment standpoint." The Economic Collapse Blog said global elites plan to loot bank accounts. Don't be surprised when they steal yours. "They are already very clearly telling you that they are going to do it." Your money is theirs. It's up for grabs on demand. People put money in banks for safety. Removing it "jeopardize(s) the entire system." Cyprus is a tip of a giant iceberg. Major global banks are highly leveraged. Many are insolvent. When their bets pay off, they win. When they don't, we pay. Wealth confiscation is now policy. Commerzbank chief economist Joerg Kraemer urges a "tax rate of 15 percent on (Italian) financial assets." It's "probably enough to push (government) debt below the critical level of 100 percent of gross domestic product," he said. New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English proposed across the board depositor "haircut(s)" in case of major bank failures. Britain's Daily Mail headlined "One of the nastiest and most immoral political acts in modern times," saying: "People who rob old ladies in the street, or hold up security vans, are branded as thieves." "Yet when Germany presides over a heist of billions of pounds from private savers' Cyprus bank accounts, to 'save the euro' for the hundredth time, this is claimed as high statesmanship." "It is nothing of the sort….It has struck fear into the hearts of hundreds of millions of European citizens, because it establishes a dire precedent. If Eurocrats can loot Cyprus, why not anywhere."This is the most brutal display since 2008 of how far the euro-committed nations are willing to go to save the tottering single currency." "It shows that the zone's crisis will run and run to the grievous disadvantage" of most everyone. "Surely the euro cannot long survive by such anti-democratic means. It certainly does not deserve to."Graham Summers says "Europe is out of options and out of money." It's "totally and completely bust." It's banks are highly leveraged. They can't raise capital "because no one in their right mind wants to invest in them…." "European nations are bankrupt because AGAIN no one in their right mind wants to buy their bonds UNLESS they believe they can dump their investments on the ECB at a later date. Who is the greater fool there?” Europe isn't fixed because enough capital isn't there to do it. "Europe and its alleged backstops are out of money. This includes Germany, the ECB, and the mega-bailout funds such as the ESM (European Stability Mechanism)." The ECB is "chock full of garbage debts." It's insolvent. It can print money, "but once the BIG collateral call hits, (it's) useless because (what's needed) would implode the system." "What could go wrong?" Virtually anything. "It's only a matter of time before (crisis conditions reach) hyperdrive, and we have an event even worse than 2008."Zero Hedge says Russia's "next in line to restrict cash transactions. (They're) taking a page from the Europeans' book."Russia Beyond the Headlines said "Russia to ban cash transactions over $10,000." It plans to "slash the amount of cash in domestic trade." google_ad_client = "ca-pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 7/28/12 */ google_ad_slot = "9833874419"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; It may do so by 2015. It's "expected to boost" bank reserves "and put a damper on (its) shadow economy. However, the middle class will most likely end up having to pay the price for the scheme." According to Zero Hedge, leaders realize that "limits of fiscal and monetary policy have been reached." They're "now changing rules, limiting freedom, and (instituting) outright confiscation (as) the only way to maintain a status quo." Doing so reflects predatory capitalism's failure. It's a house of cards. It's heading perhaps for eventual collapse. At risk is whether it takes humanity with it when it does.Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/ var fnames = new Array();var ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';var err_style = ''; try{ err_style = mc_custom_error_style; } catch(e){ err_style = 'margin: 1em 0 0 0; padding: 1em 0.5em 0.5em 0.5em; background: FFEEEE none repeat scroll 0% 0%; font- weight: bold; float: left; z-index: 1; width: 80%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz- initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: FF0000;'; } var mce_jQuery = jQuery.noConflict(); mce_jQuery(document).ready( function($) { var options = { errorClass: 'mce_inline_error', errorElement: 'div', errorStyle: err_style, onkeyup: function(){}, onfocusout:function(){}, onblur:function(){} }; var mce_validator = mce_jQuery("#mc-embedded-subscribe-form").validate(options); options = { url: 'http://activistpost.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe/post-json? u=3ac8bebe085f73ea3503bbda3&id=b0c7fb76bd&c=?', type: 'GET', dataType: 'json', contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8", beforeSubmit: function(){ mce_jQuery('#mce_tmp_error_msg').remove(); mce_jQuery('.datefield','#mc_embed_signup').each( function(){ var txt = 'filled'; var fields = new Array(); var i = 0; mce_jQuery(':text', this).each( function(){ fields[i] = this; i++; }); mce_jQuery(':hidden', this).each( function(){ if ( fields[0].value=='MM' && fields[1].value=='DD' && fields[2].value=='YYYY' ){ this.value = ''; } else if ( fields[0].value=='' && fields [1].value=='' && fields[2].value=='' ){ this.value = ''; } else { this.value = fields[0].value+'/'+fields[1].value+'/'+fields[2].value; } }); }); return mce_validator.form(); }, success: mce_success_cb }; mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').ajaxForm(options); }); function mce_success_cb(resp){ mce_jQuery('#mce-success-response').hide(); mce_jQuery('#mce-error-response').hide(); if (resp.result=="success"){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(resp.msg); mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').each(function(){ this.reset(); }); } else { var index = -1; var msg; try { var parts = resp.msg.split(' - ',2); if (parts[1]==undefined){ msg = resp.msg; } else { i = parseInt(parts[0]); if (i.toString() == parts[0]){ index = parts[0]; msg = parts[1]; } else { index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } } } catch(e){ index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } try{ if (index== -1){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } else { err_; html = ' '+msg+''; var input_; var f = mce_jQuery(input_id); if (ftypes[index]=='address'){ input_; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else if (ftypes[index]=='date'){ input_; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else { input_+fnames[index]; f = mce_jQuery().parent(input_id).get(0); } if (f){ mce_jQuery(f).append(html); mce_jQuery(input_id).focus(); } else { mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } catch(e){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } BE THE CHANGE! 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26 марта 2013, 02:13

China's Biggest Footwear Retailer Warns Country Shifting To Slower Growth

Belle International Holdings, China’s biggest footwear retailer, warned in a report published yesterday that the country is shifting to a slower path of economic growth. 

25 марта 2013, 14:31

Китай: годовая прибыль Belle International выросла на 2,3%

Крупнейший в Китае ритейлер женской обуви Belle International Holdings отчитался о 2,3%-ном росте прибыли в 2012 г. Стоит отметить, что темпы роста прибыли оказались минимальными с 2008 г. Сообщается, что чистая прибыль компании в минувшем году выросла до 4,4 млрд юаней по сравнению с прибылью в размере 4,26 млрд юаней годом ранее. При этом аналитики ожидали прибыль в размере 4,48 млрд юаней.

22 марта 2013, 22:25

Tech Entrepreneur Calls Out The NYT

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Influencers. Follow Shai Agassi on LinkedIn. secure: 1 Last week, David Brooks used his column in the NY Times to lift the covers on the world of energy. He divides the people working in the energy field into “the anonymous drudges” who create things and the “lavalier-mike conference circuit” with fancy (read: sustainable) ideas who create no jobs. Full disclosure: Mr. Brooks put me in the second category. His Op-Ed made me wonder. As an avid capitalist, my fundamental belief is that waste is a hidden tax. Energy waste and high energy prices are the worst tax slowing down global growth. In the most fundamental way, we energy engineers are right-wing capitalists working to bring back an era of growth. Growth fueled by energy innovations - pun intended. More From LinkedIn Influencers: -- Is Fear Stopping You From Starting A Company? -- How Busy People Find Time To Think Deeply Pundits like Brooks are trying to paint this as a zero-sum game between the “energy incumbents” and “energy innovators”. Their claim is that we have reached an energy-abundance fantasy bowl, by grace of fracking. Their subtext: we should stop paying attention to innovative ideas, and focus on the true and tried ways of drilling in every possible direction. They are simply misinformed. The International Energy Agency projection quoted by Mr. Brooks and many others, about the US overtaking Saudi Arabia in oil production by 2020 is not entirely true. A great article by Chris Nedler explains the mistake the media is making, including the belief that oil as is a single, fungible product. Even worse, with the continuous growth in motorization in China and the rest of the developing countries, demand for oil continues to grow at a faster rate than this temporary supply blip. We bought ourselves a short grace period, but we should use it intelligently. We should work together, innovators and incumbents, to create and implement a new energy blueprint before the clock sounds the energy midnight bells. When oil barrels will be priced at $150 again, this party will end, and recession will come back. We have been there as a society before. We grow until we reach our limits – boundaries dictated by energy. Energy shortages drive the price of energy upwards, and as result heavily tax our economy, our goods, our food, even our water. In the past, we kept hitting those limitations until we invented a new way to harness energy. Hotter fire meant stronger steel and faster trains; oil trumped coal and won wars; cars replaced horses and gave us freedom to roam. Society is in a constant race between energy limitations and energy innovations. Every one of these inventions shifted the world. These inventions changed our daily life, but also the global balance of power. Every such invention ushered in a new energy era. Each of them was championed by unique energy innovators. The innovators morphed over time from small inventors into the large energy giants of our modern day. Rockefeller became Standard Oil, Edison and Westinghouse morphed into GE and the power utilities, Billy Durant and Henry Ford created the automobile industry and changed the structure of our industrial society. In the process they created jobs, and immense wealth. They also disrupted industries. Remember the horses and carriage industries, and all those kerosene street vendors? I guess they never believed in the power of innovation. One could say that they had bet on the wrong horses. So, what was my “pie in the sky” idea? A company called Better Place, which created an infrastructure solution that allowed electric cars to drive with the same convenience as gasoline cars. We installed 40 battery switch stations across Israel and 20 more across Denmark. Those stations allowed electric vehicles to simply switch batteries when drivers ran out of juice but wanted to keep driving. By not asking drivers to buy an expensive battery, and simply paying for the miles they drove, we made electric cars cheaper and more convenient than comparable gasoline sedans. The cost of such network? Less than one week of gasoline in Israel. The same ratio holds true to the US as well. The result? Israeli drivers already drive millions of electric miles on this system without burning a single drop of imported oil. They are measurably more satisfied than gasoline car drivers, or EV drivers in other countries. In fact, Better Place will sell roughly 1% of the new cars sold this March in Israel, following two months of 0.5% and 0.7%. These sales figures happen despite negligible financial incentives from the Israeli government for EVs. To put that in perspective - while it is an unfair comparison, Toyota took 15 years to reach 1% of global new car sales with the Prius. I agree with Mr. Brooks that cheap natural gas brings jobs, cost reductions, even cleaner electricity - as we convert power plants from coal to natural gas. The new gas supplies bought us some precious time buffer. We should use the time intelligently to innovate and create a smarter energy blueprint - more integrated, efficient, and sustainable. We need a plan that augments natural gas with renewable sources and reduces. We continue to reduce the cost of wind and solar down to competitive levels. We need to accelerate the infrastructure and scale that will bring to broader adoption of electric cars in order to reduce and one day eliminate oil imports. We need a plan that doesn’t look at energy and innovation as an either-or option, as Mr. Brooks suggests. I believe this is the decade of “all-of the-above”, followed by an efficient new plan - one that will usher in the era of Energy Innovation. Or to use Chevron’s own words: “It is time for oil companies to get behind renewable energy.”

08 марта 2013, 07:50

Dr. Philip Zimbardo: Journeying From Evil To Heroism

TED and The Huffington Post are excited to bring you TEDWeekends, a curated weekend program that introduces a powerful "idea worth spreading" every Friday, anchored in an exceptional TEDTalk. This week's TEDTalk is accompanied by an original blog post from the featured speaker, along with new op-eds, thoughts and responses from the HuffPost community. Watch the talk above, read the blog post and tell us your thoughts below. Become part of the conversation! __________________________________________ EVIL: How and why do good people turn evil? VERSUS GOOD: How can ordinary people be inspired to act heroically? These two questions have been challenging me since I was a kid, and finally after many decades, I have discovered answers that I need to share with everyone who might care about these fundamental issues about Human Nature. Growing up in poverty in the inner city of the South Bronx, New York City, means that I, like all such kids similarly situated everywhere in the world, was surrounded by evil. There were and are always hustlers, guys who make a living by getting good kids to do bad things for a little money, like steal, run drugs, sell their bodies, and worse. Why did some kids give in and start down that slippery slope of evil, while others resisted and stayed on the right side of that line separating good from evil? As a religious little Catholic kid, I dutifully prayed to God to help me resist such daily temptation and deliver me from evil, it was hard to really count on God having the time to check out what was happening around 1005 E. 151 St. There were wars to attend to, Hitler to be contained, hurricane victims needing help, and Communists to be converted. So I reasoned I had to be more self-reliant and band with buddies I could trust to provide strength in our numbers against those perpetrators of evil. And it worked for some of us. This concern continued for much of my life, until, as a research psychologist, I reasoned the best way to understand evil, was to go beyond theological analyses, philosophical discourses and dramatic renditions, to actually "create" evil in order to understand its dynamics from the inside out. My classmate from James Monroe High School in the Bronx, Stanley Milgram, had set a workable agenda for doing so through his pioneering investigation of Obedience to Authority back in 1963. His experimental research at Yale University quantified evil in a novel way: how many volts of electric shock would someone administer to an innocent victim when an authority figure ordered him or her to take such action that went against conscience. His findings shocked the world: The vast majority of participants, ordinary adult citizens, two of every three, went all the way down the 30 switches on the shock generator from an insignificant initial mere 15 volts, increasing incrementally by 15 more volts, until they got to 450 volts. Danger! Potentially lethal! Although the research participants, acting as Teachers punishing their Learners for their errors -- to ostensibly help improve their memory -- believed their learner-victim was being shocked from the screams heard over the speakers, the learner was actually a confederate with responses automated. What is the lesson to be learned here? Bad people will inflict pain on innocent victims when given permission to do so. No. Most ordinary, even good, people are vulnerable to subtle, pervasive situational forces when they are in new circumstances where usual, habitual ways of behaving are not relevant. I took that message a step or two further in my 1971 study, known as the Stanford Prison Experiment. Could a situation be created in which normal, healthy, intelligent college students inflict pain on their peers in the absence of any authority commanding their obedience? My "subjects" were two dozen students from all over the country who had just finished summer school in local colleges, chosen from among 75 who had answered an ad for a psychology study of prison life to run for up to two weeks. By random assignment, half became prisoners who lived in our simulated jail 24/7, while the others were guards working each of three eight-hour shifts. The sad sack prisoner uniforms, with their new identity numbers prominently displayed on their smocks, contrasted with the military-style uniforms of the guards who also displayed their various symbols of power. The situation created was a functional simulation of American prisons in many ways; in short, it was an "Evil Barrel" into which we put a bunch of "Good Apples," at least on day one. We are training ordinary people on how to become everyday heroes by learning how to stand up, speak out and take wise and effective action in the challenging situations they face daily at home, school, business, community and nation. - Dr. Philip Zimbardo Would an evil place that was populated with only good people dominate and corrupt them, or would humanity win out and keep them decent and caring despite such a situation? Within 36 hours, one of the normal, healthy college students had a severe emotional breakdown and had to be released from his prisoner role. On each of the next five days and nights, other prisoners broke down in similarly disturbing ways. I was forced to terminate this experiment, to shut down my prison after only 6 days; it had spun out of control. Bad news in this particular contest between good and evil: evil 1, humanity 0. My situation was a setting where institutionalized evil dominated. Rules, roles, uniforms, policies, group dynamics, arbitrary power differentials -- all within a physical context that gave legitimacy to the treatment of other people in dehumanizing ways. This metaphor of powerful guards dominating powerless prisoners is not limited to either my mock prison or real prisons, but can be seen in many settings: traditional marriages, mental hospitals, schools, military and business settings. So the findings of the Milgram obedience experiments (in its 19 variants), combined with those of the Stanford Prison Experiment, reveal the extent to which human behavior can be situationally influenced, even dominated, in ways that we are reluctant to acknowledge. We all want to believe in the dignity of individual character and free will. That dignity is best served by recognizing our vulnerabilities and learning how to develop our "situational awareness," as a kind of ghetto "Street Smarts," in every context we enter. We can resist such powerful forces only by becoming savvy to the operation of myriad of social-situational forces in our lives, on the "dark side" (as our former VP Dick Cheney reminded us, this was the way we would deal with terrorists). This allusion leads us to year 2004 and the horrific images of American soldiers, military prison guards, men and women, seen in their own photos torturing and degrading their Iraqi captives in Abu Ghraib Prison. Doing so all while smiling, with high fives all around. Who were these bad apples, disgracing not only the military but America's war effort to bring democracy, freedom and dignity to a people long dominated by a cruel dictator? For me, I was as shocked as anyone, but I was also hardly surprised, because the visual parallels with my prison study seemed direct. I contended in many media interviews that I believed our soldiers were good apples that someone had put into a very bad barrel in that prison dungeon. I became an expert defense witness for one of those guards, in part to better understand how he and all the other MPs on his night shift on Tier 1-A could have perpetrated such terrible deeds. In that capacity, I had access to all the existing investigative reports and the full collection of the condemning photos. I believe I was able to show, to demonstrate, with a variety of evidence, how Sgt. Chip Frederick, like the other MPs, fell under the spell of a situation that was created by some "Bad Barrel Makers." This was a system of power that mismanaged the prison, combined with a narrow-minded military leadership and a war-focused presidential cabinet. All the MPs received dishonorable discharges, some with long prison sentences, while their officers were never tried. They did not even receive letters of reprimand for their "command complicity" in abuses that went on under their watch for three solid months. I summarized all that I had learned about this torture center, as well as the first full presentation of the Stanford Prison Experiment in my 2008 book, The Lucifer Effect. That same year, I was invited to present my ideas (worth spreading) at the TED Conference. It was difficult to contain all these ideas into the tight, 18-minute limit that is the TED signature, despite practicing on the main stage earlier. I am a 60-minute academic dude, but I would try my best to squeeze into that slot. But, just as I was racing toward the end, shifting focus and asking the audience how ordinary people can act heroically, the bell sounded with no time on the clock. I swear that I felt the audience simultaneously hold a collective inhalation. Just then my deus ex machina ascended the stage to tell the audience that he had heard the rehearsal and that what was coming was too important to stop now, so he would violate policy and allow me a few more minutes. With that temporal reprieve from Chris Anderson, TED major domo, the audience exhaled and I raced on for five more minutes with the good news ending: that it was possible to inspire people, especially our youth, to learn how to transform compassion into heroic action. Standing ovation. Having nearly fainted from hyperventilating for talking faster than I ever had, I was happy just to be standing. Immediately after, many TEDsters encouraged me to develop the hero project more fully, to scale it up, to develop a non-profit, to start a foundation, a business. I even got seed funds from Pam and Pierre Omidyar, eBay founders, to do so, and I did. I went on from this exhilarating experience to create a San Francisco based non-profit, The Heroic Imagination Project, HIP, please see what we are doing in our social revolution on www.heroicimagination.org. We are training ordinary people on how to become everyday heroes by learning how to stand up, speak out and take wise and effective action in the challenging situations they face daily at home, school, business, community and nation. We have developed a full educational program, based entirely on proven social psychological research in six areas, as well as a corporate leadership program designed to encourage heroic leadership. We are also doing and supporting others' research on the nature of heroism. Finally, we are planning a mobile phone app with daily exercises for all those who want to start on the bright path of becoming Heroes-In-Training. If we succeed, then, we will reverse the score: evil 0, humanity 1. I need your help to make this mission into a national and international movement that has the potential to change the world for the better, one hero at a time. I welcome sponsors and funders who believe that by working together we can all do it -- heroically. Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today's most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email [email protected]fingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend's ideas to contribute as a writer..ted-headline { clear:both;}

27 февраля 2013, 04:43

French Court Rules On DSK Book Ban

A French court on Tuesday delivered its decision in the Dominique Strass-Kahn book ban case, ruling that lawyer Marcela Iacub's kiss-and-tell about the former International Monetary Fund chief would not be blocked from stores. However, the final decision was not a total loss for the 63-year-old Strass-Kahn, who filed an injunction in order to halt the book's release. According to French media, the Paris-based court ruled that Beauty and Beast may be published, but must include an insert noting that Strass-Kahn's privacy had been invaded. The court also awarded €50,000 (about $65,000) in damages to Strass-Kahn, which Iacub and the book's publisher, Stock, will be required to pay. Strass-Kahn appeared in court Tuesday, seeking to stop the potentially defamatory book from being released Wednesday. He called the work "despicable and dishonest," adding that it devastated his personal life. While Iacub did not explicitly identify Strauss-Kahn in the book, she has publicly acknowledged that her former lover of seven months is the book's protagonist. In an interview with the French-language Nouvel Observateur last week, Iacub described Strauss-Kahn as a "half man, half pig." The Nouvel Observateur, which also published excerpts of the book, will also be required to pay €25,000 (about $32,000) in damages to Strauss-Kahn. "The limits of freedom of expression in this case have been exceeded, and the right to freedom of creation cannot prevail over violations of privacy," the judge explained during the hearing. Strauss-Kahn is still facing other legal troubles in France. In December, judges decided not to drop pimping charges against him. The decision came less than two weeks after Strauss-Kahn settled a lawsuit with a New York hotel maid over sexual assault allegations. PHOTO:A man holds a copy of "Belle et bete," a book written by French lawyer Marcela Iacub detailing her relationship with disgraced former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

15 февраля 2013, 22:12

Remarks by the President at Presentation of 2012 Presidential Citizens Medals

East Room 11:30 A.M. EST THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, everybody.  Please, please have a seat.  Well, it is a pleasure to welcome some of our nation’s finest citizens here to the people’s house.  And let me be the first to congratulate each of you and your family members for the receipt of the highest honor a civilian can receive –- the Citizens Medal.  We host a lot of events at the White House but I have to admit this is one of my favorites, because it’s a moment when, as a people, we get to recognize some extraordinary men and women who have gone above and beyond for their country and for their fellow citizens -- often without fanfare; often with not a lot of attention; very rarely for any profit.  You do it because it’s the right thing to do, because you want to give back.  And today, we honor you.  We celebrate you.  And, most of all, we have a chance to say thank you.  Because all of us are what the rest of us aspire to be.  In America, we have the benefit of living in this big and diverse nation.  We’re home to 315 million people who come from every background, who worship every faith, who hold every single point of view.  But what binds us together, what unites us is a single sacred word:  citizen.    It’s a word that, as I said in my State of the Union Address, doesn’t just describe our nationality or our legal status, the fact that we hold a passport.  It defines our way our life.  It captures our belief in something bigger than ourselves -- our willingness to accept certain obligations to one another, and to embrace the idea that we’re all in this together; that out of many, we are one.  It’s the thing that Tocqueville noticed about America when he first came to visit -- these folks participate, they get involved, they have a point of view; they don’t just wait for somebody else to do something, they go out there and do it, and they join and they become part of groups and they mobilize and they organize. That’s who we are, that’s in our DNA.  That’s what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America.  We’ve all got busy lives.  We’ve got bills to pay.  We’ve got kids to carpool, errands to get done.  And in the midst of all the running around, it would be easy -- and even understandable -- for folks to just focus on themselves, to worry about our own lives, to look down the street and see a neighbor in need and say, “I’d like to help but I’ve got problems of my own.”  To look across town at a community that’s in despair and say, “That’s just too big a challenge for us to be able to take on.”  That’s not who we are.  That’s not what we do.  That’s not what built this country.  In this country, we look out for one another.  We get each other’s backs, especially in times of hardship or challenge.  It’s part of the reason why applications to AmeriCorps are at an all-time high.  That’s why volunteering in America is at the highest level it’s been in years.  And I know that makes Harris proud to hear.  Harris Wofford has devoted his entire life to creating opportunities for Americans to serve.  And the reason it’s such a privilege for me to share the stage with him and all the others who are participating here today, is because you’ve taken commitment to a whole new level.  Every day, you’re out there righting wrongs.  Healing hurts.  Changing lives.   And when Janice Jackson was hit by a car at the age of 24, she was told by her doctors that the only thing she would ever move again were her shoulders.  After suffering an injury like that, nobody would have faulted Janice for just focusing on herself.  But as she recovered, and she regained her strength, she resolved to give some of that strength to others in need.  Janice said that “from a wheelchair, I decided to devote my life to women with disabilities…to tell them that even though you have limitations, you also have abilities.”  And every day through her mentorship and through her advocacy, that’s exactly what she’s doing. When Adam Burke returned from Iraq, he had more than earned the right to just focus on himself.  He had served our nation with honor; a recipient of the Purple Heart for wounds he received while rescuing a comrade from enemy fire.  Because of that attack –- because of the shrapnel that tore through his head and his legs –- when Adam came home, he came home a wounded warrior, suffering from a traumatic brain injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  But a few years later, Adam found himself back on the family farm, and he noticed that working the land was therapeutic.  His coordination improved.  He was able to put aside his cane.  So he decided to use farming to help other veterans with similar injuries see similar benefits.  And by starting Veterans Farm, he’s doing that every day.  When Jeanne Manford learned that her son Morty had been badly beaten up at a gay rights demonstration, nobody would have faulted her for bringing him home, holding him close, just focusing on her child.  This was back in 1972.  There was a lot of hate, a lot of vitriol towards gays and lesbians and anyone who supported them.  But instead, she wrote to the local newspaper and took to the streets with a simple message:  No matter who her son was -- no matter who he loved –- she loved him, and wouldn’t put up with this kind of nonsense.  And in that simple act, she inspired a movement and gave rise to a national organization that has given so much support to parents and families and friends, and helped to change this country.  We lost Jeanne last month, but her legacy carries on, every day, in the countless lives that she touched. And then when Dawn Hochsprung, and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, Anne Marie Murphy -- when they showed up for work at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th of last year, they expected a day like any other -- doing what was right for their kids; spent a chilly morning readying classrooms and welcoming young students -- they had no idea that evil was about to strike.  And when it did, they could have taken shelter by themselves.  They could have focused on their own safety, on their own wellbeing.  But they didn’t.  They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care.  They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us.   And that's what we honor today -- the courageous heart, the selfless spirit, the inspiring actions of extraordinary Americans, extraordinary citizens.  We are a nation of 315 million people.  Out of all these folks, around 6,000 were nominated for this medal.  And today, you're the ones receiving it not just for what you do, but for what you represent -- for the shining example that you set every single day and the inspiration that you give each of us as fellow citizens, including your President.  So congratulations to the recipients.  And now, I would like our military aide to read the citations.  MILITARY AIDE:  The Presidential Citizens Medal recipients: Dr. T. Berry Brazelton.  (Applause.)  As one of America’s most respected voices on child development, Dr. Brazelton has dedicated his life to transforming pediatric care.  His pioneering work has given generations of parents the chance to take control of their children’s health from day one.  Alongside his duties as a researcher and educator, he fought to secure some of the 20th century’s essential safeguards for families, including guaranteed maternal leave.  For his tireless advocacy on behalf of families everywhere, the United States honors Dr. T. Berry Brazelton.  (Applause.) Adam D. Burke.  (Applause.)  During his ninth year of service in the Army, Adam Burke was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after saving a comrade from a mortar blast in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle.  He received a Purple Heart for his heroism.  Unwilling to stop serving his country, he turned his family farm into Veterans Farm, a space for wounded warriors to heal by working the land and finding stability on friendly soil.  The United States honors Adam D. Burke for his extraordinary service to his country and fellow members of the 9/11 Generation.  (Applause.) Mary Jo Copeland.  (Applause.)  Driven by her faith and a fierce commitment to her community, Mary Jo Copeland has spent more than a quarter-century lifting up the underserved.  Alongside her husband, she grew Sharing and Caring Hands from a small storefront operation in downtown Minneapolis into a charity that provides thousands of men, women and children the chance to live in health and dignity.  Her unyielding vision for stronger neighborhoods has inspired people nationwide, and her compassion for the poor and the marginalized speaks to the depth of the human spirit.  The United States honors Mary Jo Copeland for sparking hope in those who need it most.  (Applause.) Michael Dorman.  (Applause.)  When Michael Dorman saw disabled veterans struggling to secure the opportunities they had given so much to preserve, he knew he had to act.  A 20-year veteran of the Coast Guard, he founded Military Missions in Action to help veterans with disabilities live independently and support those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.  His organization has completed more than 100 home improvement projects across the state of North Carolina and shipped thousands of care packages to service members in the line of duty.  The United States honors Michael Dorman for his exceptional service to our Armed Forces and our Nation.  (Applause.) Maria Gomez.  (Applause.)  Born in Colombia and brought up in Washington, D.C., Maria Gomez has dedicated her life to providing high-quality health care to the community that raised her.  Guided by her vision, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care has delivered exceptional outcomes to disadvantaged populations for more than two decades.  Her organization’s integrated approach to medicine, education and social services extends a lifeline to tens of thousands every year, giving families across the D.C. region a chance at a brighter future.  The United States honors Maria Gomez for sharing her strength with the underserved.  (Applause.) Pamela Green-Jackson.  (Applause.)  As Pamela Green-Jackson mourned the loss of her only brother to obesity-related illness, she vowed to honor his memory by saving others from the same fate.  The result, Youth Becoming Healthy, has equipped young men and women in Georgia schools with the knowledge and opportunity they need to get a strong start in life.  Pamela’s dedication to combating childhood obesity reaffirms our belief that as a nation, we have no higher calling than caring for our children.  For putting our sons and daughters on the path to better health, the United States honors Pamela Green-Jackson.  (Applause.) Janice Yvette Jackson.  (Applause.)  After Janice Jackson was struck by an oncoming car when she was 24 years old, doctors told her she would never be able to move her limbs again.  Battling against the odds, she regained control of her left arm and reached for the promise of the years ahead.  As a mentor, a counselor and the founder of Women Embracing Abilities Now, she has drawn from the depth of her experience to empower women with disabilities and advocate passionately on their behalf.  The United States honors Janice Yvette Jackson for turning personal adversity into a powerful force for change.  (Applause.) Patience A. Lehrman.  (Applause.)  A first-generation immigrant from Cameroon, Patience Lehrman embodies what it means to be an American citizen.  Recognizing that immigrants have always made our country stronger, she has worked to make America a land of greater opportunity for all who call it home.  Under her leadership, Project SHINE has helped thousands of aging immigrants and refugees build deeper ties to their communities by connecting them with college students nationwide.  The United States honors Patience A. Lehrman for reaffirming the truth inscribed on our nation’s seal:  that out of many, we are one.  (Applause.) Accepting on behalf of Jeanne Manford, her daughter Suzanne Swan.  (Applause.)  In an era when peaceful protests were met with violence and coming out was a radical act, Jeanne Manford knew she had to stand by her son, Morty.  Side-by-side, they marched proudly down the streets of New York on Stonewall’s anniversary, calling upon other parents of gay and lesbian Americans to show their children the same love and acceptance.  Jeanne’s courage lives on in progress she fought for and in PFLAG, the organization she founded, which today claims more than 200,000 members and supporters in over 350 chapters.  For insisting that equality knows no bounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, the United States honors Jeanne Manford.  (Applause.) Billy Mills.  (Applause.)  As a boy growing up on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Billy Mills rose above adversity by dedicating himself to a dream.  He realized the height of his ambition at the 1964 Tokyo Games, where he ran what was then the fastest 10,000 meters in Olympic history.  Since then, Billy has spent 26 years lifting other young men and women toward their aspirations through Running Strong for American Indian Youth.  His organization has championed wellness and unlocked opportunity in Native American communities across our country.  The United States honors Billy Mills for inspiring young people to find the best in themselves.  (Applause.) Terry T. Shima.  (Applause.)  During World War II, Terry Shima served in the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became the most decorated unit of its size in American history.  Responsible for securing the 442nd’s legacy, Terry ensured that returning heroes received a welcome befitting their service and sacrifice.  As the Executive Director of the Japanese American Veterans Association, he committed himself to preserving the stories of servicemembers who fought and bled overseas, even while many of their families were relocated to internment camps at home.  For strengthening the sacred trust between America and its veterans, the United States honors Terry T. Shima.  (Applause.) Harris Wofford.  (Applause.)  Harris Wofford has spent more than 50 years empowering ordinary citizens to make extraordinary change.  A friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and an advisor to President John F. Kennedy, Harris fought alongside civil rights leaders to end segregation and advance the march of justice.  During his time at the White House, with the Peace Corps, as a Senator, and leading the Corporation for National and Community Service, he gave generations of Americans the chance to serve their country.  The United States honors Harris Wofford for upholding national service as one of our Nation’s highest causes.  (Applause.) The Presidential Citizens Medal is awarded to Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto for dedicating themselves to their students and to the community of Newtown, Connecticut.  Some had been at Sandy Hook Elementary School for only weeks; others were preparing to retire after decades of service.  All worked long past the school bell to give the children in their care a future worth their talents.  On December 14, 2012, unthinkable tragedy swept through Newtown, etching the names of these six courageous women into the heart of our nation forever.  The United States honors Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto for their extraordinary commitment to the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Accepting on behalf of Rachel D’Avino -- her mother, Mary D’Avino and sister, Sarah D’Avino.  (Applause.) Accepting on behalf of Dawn Hochsprung -- her daughter, Erica Lafferty, and mother, Cheryl Lafferty.  (Applause.) Accepting on behalf of Anne Marie Murphy -- her husband, Michael Murphy, and daughters, Paige and Colleen Murphy.  (Applause.) Accepting on behalf of Lauren Rousseau -- her parents, Terry and Gilles Rousseau.  (Applause.) Accepting on behalf of Mary Sherlach -- her husband, Bill Sherlach, and daughters, Katy Sherlach and Maura Schwartz.  (Applause.) Accepting on behalf of Victoria Soto -- her parents, Donna and Carlos Soto.  (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT:  Let me close by just saying a few words of thanks -- first of all, to Wendy and all the people at the Corporation for National and Community Service, thank you for all that you do to make our communities and our country stronger.  We’re very grateful.  To those who nominated these outstanding individuals -- thank you for taking the time to share their stories.  The competition was stiff.  And your words gave life to their work. To all the family and friends who are here celebrating with the winners, thank you for the love and support that you provide to them every single day, because they couldn’t do what they do unless somebody had that love and support for them.  I know the awardees would agree that this honor belongs not just to themselves but to everybody who supports them. And finally, to the winners of this year’s Citizens Medal, we want to congratulate you once again.  A special note just to the families who are here from Sandy Hook -- we are so blessed to be with you.  I’ve gotten to know many of you during the course of some very difficult weeks.  And your courage and love for each other and your communities shines through every single day.  And we could not be more blessed and grateful for your loved ones who gave everything they had on behalf of our kids.  On behalf of a grateful nation, thanks to all of you for showing us what it means to be a citizen of this country that we love.  Hopefully, we will all draw inspiration from this and remember why it is that we’re lucky to be living in the greatest nation on Earth.  Thank you all for coming and enjoy the reception.  (Applause.) END 12:02 P.M. EST

12 февраля 2013, 16:32

Frontrunning: February 12

The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... Is Screwed (Esquire) G7 fires currency warning shot, Japan sanguine (Reuters) North Korea Confirms It Conducted 3rd Nuclear Test (NYT) Italian Police Arrest Finmeccanica CEO (WSJ) Legacy, political calendar frame Obama's State of the Union address (Reuters) China joins U.S., Japan, EU in condemning North Korea nuclear test (Reuters) Wall Street Fading as Emerging-Market Banks Gain Share (BBG) Berlin Conference 2.0: Drugmakers eye Africa's middle classes as next growth market (Reuters) Barclays to Cut 3,700 Jobs After Full-Year Loss (BBG) US Treasury comment triggers fall in yen (FT) ECB Ready to Offset Banks’ Accelerated LTRO Payback (BBG) Fed's Yellen Supports Stimulus to Spur Jobs (WSJ) Libor Scrutiny Turns to Middlemen (WSJ) Samsung Girds for Life After Apple in Disruption Devotion (BBG)   Overnight Media Digest WSJ * North Korea appeared to have exploded a nuclear device Tuesday, its third experimental detonation in a long effort to build weapons of mass destruction that the U.S. and other countries consider a serious threat. * Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pontiff in six centuries to resign, marking the end of a transitional papacy that focused more on theological and internal renewal and less on the broader challenges that face the Roman Catholic church at the start of its 21st century of existence. * U.S. regulators are widening their probe of global interest-rate-rigging by scrutinizing what they claim is a pivotal role of two U.K. brokerage firms in the scandal, people close to the investigation say. * The regulator that oversees the professional conduct of Britain's accountants has launched a probe into the past financial reports of Autonomy Corp, the U.K. software company that Hewlett-Packard Co purchased for $11 billion in 2011 and later accused of having made outright financial misrepresentations ahead of the deal. * Hedge-fund manager David Einhorn has proposed that Apple Inc issue a special class of stock that would carry a high dividend yield. * Nasdaq OMX Group Inc, long on the hunt for a partner, has ramped up its conversations about strategic options ranging from joint ventures to a sale, according to people familiar with the talks, as rival NYSE Euronext moves ahead with a merger that will form an even-bigger competitor. * U.S. regulators told the world's biggest maker of insulin, Denmark's Novo Nordisk, that they couldn't approve a potential blockbuster diabetes drug, delaying its U.S. introduction and sending the company's shares tumbling. * Hostess Brands Inc won permission to place a selection of its cake and bread assets, including the Twinkie brand, on the auction block as the baking company continues to sell off its business piece by piece.   FT EDF Energy is seeking state support to guarantee the new nuclear reactors it plans to build in the UK. EDF is asking the government to underwrite some of the project's financing. Nasdaq OMX Group was in talks with private equity firm Carlyle Group about taking the trans-Atlantic exchange operator private, but the talks broke down because of disagreements over valuation. Britain's accountancy regulator said it was investigating the financial reports of British software firm Autonomy before it was bought by Hewlett-Packard, a deal that was later subject to accusations of fraud. Goldman Sachs has promoted Gregg Lemkau to jointly head its global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) team. Telefonica has put off plans to list its Latin American business. BlackRock sold a large stake in oil services group Saipem - a unit of Italy's Eni, in deal that is under the scrutiny of Italian and British regulators. Lion Capital, a big investor in Findus - the UK-based frozen food company engulfed in the horse meat scandal, has called on management to explain how the adulteration took place. Dutch retailer Ahold sold its 60 percent stake in its Nordic joint venture - ICA - to co-owner Hakon Invest for 2.5 billion euros ($3.34 billion) in cash.   NYT * British accounting regulators said on Monday that they would investigate the financial reporting at the British software maker Autonomy before its $11.1 billion acquisition by Hewlett-Packard Co in 2011. * Concern over the euro moved to the forefront Monday as finance ministers of the countries using the currency held their monthly meeting. But this time, with the European Union's recession continuing, the topic was the strength of the euro rather than its many weaknesses. * The Swedish investment company Hakon Invest agreed on Monday to buy the remaining stake in the Nordic retailer ICA it did not already own for $3.1 billion. * A new 24-hour news and entertainment channel, Fusion, has powerful backers in Univision and ABC News, a unit of the Walt Disney Co, and underscores the growing influence of the burgeoning Hispanic audience. * Mary Jo White, who has been nominated to run the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, has also disclosed that her husband would relinquish his partnership at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, converting his interest in the firm from an equity to non-equity status. * Pope Benedict XVI's surprise announcement on Monday that he will resign on Feb. 28 sets the stage for a succession battle that is likely to determine the future course of a church troubled by scandal and declining faith in its traditional strongholds around the world. * It will be four years on Tuesday since the last fatal crash in the United States, a record unmatched since propeller planes gave way to the jet age more than half a century ago. Globally, last year was the safest since 1945, with 23 deadly accidents and 475 fatalities, according to the Aviation Safety Network, an accident researcher.   Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL * The Harper government will not resurrect its controversial Internet surveillance bill, and will not introduce new legislation to monitor the activities of people on the web. * Former school trustee Liz Sandals inherited one of Ontario's most difficult files Monday, taking on the post of Education Minister and the ambitious task of resolving a dispute with Ontario's teachers and restoring sports teams, clubs and other after-school activities. Reports in the business section: * Genivar Inc, one of Quebec's biggest engineering firms, uncovered "inappropriate conduct" after investigating the company's role in financing political parties and bidding on municipal contracts, another sign of corruption in the province's engineering and construction industry. NATIONAL POST * A federal report on military procurement to be released Tuesday will recommend bidders be required to explicitly outline how they will spur innovation and long-term economic growth in Canada, a source familiar with the file told the National Post. FINANCIAL POST * WestJet Airlines Ltd will launch its new regional carrier Encore in Western Canada this summer starting on June 24, the company said Monday. * Following the grilling in London last week, outgoing Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney may be in for a second round of tough questioning Tuesday, this time from Canadian Ministers of Parliament.   Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot ANALYST RESEARCH Upgrades Alexandria Real Estate (ARE) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at EvercoreBoston Properties (BXP) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC CapitalDCT Industrial (DCT) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Wells FargoDigital Realty (DLR) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at EvercoreGold Fields (GFI) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at CitigroupJ.M. Smucker (SJM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BernsteinNortel NetApp (NTAP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Brean CapitalNovo Nordisk (NVO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at NomuraRoyal Gold (RGLD) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBSSuburban Propane (SPH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/MerrillWalgreen (WAG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho Downgrades Boyd Gaming (BYD) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at GoldmanCapstead Mortgage (CMO) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP SecuritiesCorporate Office (OFC) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at EvercoreCubic (CUB) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Benchmark Co.Facebook (FB) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BernsteinGeneral Growth (GGP) downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC CapitalMacerich (MAC) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC CapitalPiedmont Office (PDM) downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at RBC CapitalQualcomm (QCOM) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorganQuestar (STR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS Initiations Cincinnati Bell (CBB) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche BankCyrusOne (CONE) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche BankCyrusOne (CONE) initiated with a Neutral at BofA/MerrillIdenix (IDIX) initiated with a Neutral at RW BairdLegacy Reserves (LGCY) initiated with an Overweight at BarclaysManchester United (MANU) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond JamesNavios Maritime Partners (NMM) initiated with a Buy at CitigroupTheravance (THRX) initiated with an Outperform at RW Baird HOT STOCKS Barclays (BCS) to reduce headcount by at least 3,700 this yearRexnord (RXN) hired Goldman Sachs (GS) to explore possible saleJANA Partners rejected Agrium's (AGU) settlement offer, director appointmentsArris (ARRS), Google (GOOG) received second DOJ request for more information about Arris' proposed acquisition of Motorola Home business from GoogleAmerican Express (AXP), Twitter signed online purchasing agreementProcter & Gamble (PG), Verix Business initiated strategic partnershipVMware (VMW) acquired Virsto, terms not disclosedGroupon (GRPN) acquired MashLogic, terms not disclosedLaclede Group (LG) announced sale of New England Gas Co. (SUG) to Algonquin PowerMasco (MAS) sees “repair and remodel” to grow modestly in FY13Titan International (TWI) announced offer for Wheels of India Nielsen (NLSN) initiated dividend policy, declared 16c per share dividend EARNINGS Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:Otter Tail (OTTR), American Financial Group (AFG), Masco (MAS), Nielsen (NLSN), Tesoro Logistics (TLLP), Lionsgate (LGF) Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:Owens & Minor (OMI), Dun & Bradstreet (DNB), Rexnord (RXN), Danaos (DAC), tw telecom (TWTC), Cubic (CUB) Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:DynaVox (DVOX) NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES Fed Vice-Chairwoman Janet Yellen offered a vigorous defense of the central bank's easy-money policies, suggesting she favors continuing them amid a slow economic recovery and disappointing job market, the Wall Street Journal reports Behind David Einhorn's protestations on Apple (AAPL) is a novel way to return cash to shareholders. Einhorn, of hedge fund Greenlight Capital, proposed that Apple issue a special class of stock, which he called "perpetual preferred," that would carry a high dividend yield. But with some investors feeling more confident about the future, shareholder pressure is growing to put that cash to work, the Wall Street Journal reports The NTSB is investigating whether tiny fiber-like formations, known as dendrites, inside lithium-ion batteries could have played a role in battery failures on two Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliners last month, Reuters reports The shifting nature of Africa’s disease burden is luring Big Pharma (SNY, GSK) as new opportunities open up for treating chronic diseases afflicting the middle classes, rather than just fire-fighting infection.European companies, in particular, hope to reap rewards by investing early in a region where many of them already have historic commercial ties, Reuters reports Global investment banks based in Europe and the U.S., facing regulatory and cost-cutting pressures at home, are losing market share (CS, MS, C) in emerging economies to smaller domestic competitors, Bloomberg reports In 2007, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) planned to open as many as 2,000 in-house medical clinics by mid-2012. Today, they have fewer than 130 clinics and is closing locations faster than it’s opening them. CVS Caremark (CVS) has about 630 MinuteClinics and aims to have 1,500 within four years, Bloomberg reports SYNDICATE ARCA Biopharma (ABIO) files to sell 3.48M shares of common stock for holdersAmerican Capital Mortgage (MTGE) to offer 18M shares of common stockConnectOne Bancorp (CNOB) 1.6M share IPO priced at $28.00DryShips (DRYS) announces offering of 5M common shares of Ocean Rig UDWGulfport Energy (GPOR) 7.75M share Secondary priced at $38.00HCA Holdings (HCA) files to sell 50M shares of common stock for holdersKosmos (KOS) commences offering of 30M shares of common stockMotricity (MOTR) requests withdrawal of registration statementNewcastle Investment (NCT) files to sell 20M shares of common stockTeam Health (TMH) files to sell 9.63M shares of common stock for holdersWarburg Pincus agrees to sell 2.5M shares of Primerica (PRI)

10 февраля 2013, 17:09

Liveblogging World War II: February 10, 1943

British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill: The dominating aim which we set before ourselves at the Conference at Casablanca was to engage the enemy's forces on land, sea, and in the air on the largest possible scale and at the earliest possible moment. The importance of coming to ever closer grips with the enemy and intensifying the struggle outweighs a number of other considerations which ordinarily would be decisive in themselves. We have to make the enemy burn and bleed in every way that is physically and reasonably possible, in the same way as he is being made to burn and bleed along the vast Russian front from the White Sea to the Black Sea. But this is not so simple as it sounds. Great Britain and the United States were formerly peaceful countries, ill-armed and unprepared. They are now warrior nations, walking in the fear of the Lord, very heavily armed, and with an increasingly clear view of their salvation. We are actually possessed of very powerful and growing forces, with great masses of munitions coming along. The problem is to bring these forces into action. The United States has vast oceans to cross in order to close with her enemies. We also have seas or oceans to cross in the first instance, and then for both of us there is the daring and complicated enterprise of landing on defended coasts and also the building-up of all the supplies and communications necessary for vigorous campaigning when once a landing has been made. It is because of this that the U-boat warfare takes the first place in our thoughts. There is no need to exaggerate the danger of the U-boats or to worry our merchant seamen by harping upon it unduly, because the British and American Governments have known for some time past that there were these U-boats about and have given the task of overcoming them the first priority in all their plans. This was reaffirmed most explicitly by the Combined Staffs at Casablanca. The losses we suffer at sea are very heavy, and they hamper us and delay our operations. They prevent us from coming info action with our full strength, and thus they prolong the war, with its certain 1469 waste and loss and all its unknowable hazards. Progress is being made in the war against the U-boats. We are holding our own, and more than holding our own. Before the United States came into the war, we made our calculations on the basis of British building and guaranteed Lend-Lease, which assured us of a steady and moderate improvement in our position by the end of 1943 on a very high scale of losses. There never was a moment in which we did not see our way through, provided that what the United States promised us was made good. Since then various things have happened. The United States have entered the war, and their shipbuilding has been stepped up to the present prodigious levels, amounting for the year 1943 to over 13,000,000 gross tons, or, as they would express it in American nomenclature, 18,000,000 or 19,000,000 dead weight tons. When the United States entered the war she brought with her a Mercantile Marine, American and American-controlled, of perhaps 10,000,000 gross tons, as compared with our then existing tonnage, British and British-controlled, of about—I am purposely not being precise—twice as much. On the other hand, the two Powers had more routes to guard, more jobs to do, and they therefore of course presented more numerous targets to the U-boats. Very serious depredations were committed by the U-boats off the East coast of America until the convoy system was put into proper order by the exertions of Admiral King. Heavy losses in the Far East were also incurred at the outset of the war against Japan when the Japanese pounced upon large quantities of British and United States shipping there. The great operation of landing in North Africa and maintaining the armies ashore naturally exposed the Anglo-American fleets to further losses, though there is a compensation for that which I will refer to later; and the Arctic convoys to Russia have also imposed a heavy toll, the main part of both these operational losses having fallen upon the British. In all these circumstances it was inevitable that the joint American and British, losses in the past 15 months should exceed the limits for which we British ourselves, in the days when we were alone, had budgeted. However, when the vast expansion in the United States shipbuilding is added to the credit side, the position is very definitely improved. It is in my opinion desirable to leave the enemy guessing at our real figures, to let him be the victim of his own lies, and to deprive him of every means of checking the exaggerations of his U-boat captains or of associating particular losses with particular forms and occasions of attack. I therefore do not propose to give any exact figures. This, however, I may say, that in the last six months, which included some of those heavy operations which I have mentioned, the Anglo-American and the important Canadian new building, all taken together, exceeded all the losses of the United Nations by over 1,250,000 gross tons. That is to say, our joint fleet is 1,250,000 tons bigger to-day than it was six months ago. That is not much, but it is something, and something very important. But that statement by no means does justice to the achievement of the two countries, because the great American flow of shipbuilding is leaping up month by month, and the losses in the last two months are the lowest sustained for over a year. The number of U-boats is increasing, but so are their losses, and so also are the means of attacking them and protecting the convoys. It is, however, a horrible thing to plan ahead in cold blood on the basis of losing hundreds of thousands of tons a month, even if you can show a favourable balance at the end of a year. The waste of precious cargoes, the destruction of so many noble ships, the loss of heroic crews, all combine to constitute a repulsive and sombre panorama. We cannot possibly rest content with losses on this scale, even though they are outweighed by new building, even if they are not for that reason mortal in their character. Nothing is more clearly proved than that well-escorted convoys, especially when protected by long-distance aircraft, beat the U-boats. I do not say that they are a complete protection, but they are an enormous mitigation of losses. We have had hardly any losses at sea in our heavily escorted troop convoys. Out of about 3,000,000 soldiers who have been moved under the protection of the British Navy about the world, to and fro across the seas and 1471 oceans, about 1,348 have been killed or drowned, including missing. It is about 2,200 to one against your being drowned if you travel in British troop convoys in this present war. Even if the U-boats increase in number, there is no doubt that a superior proportionate increase in the naval and air escort will be a remedy. A ship not sunk is better than a new ship built. Therefore, in order to reduce the waste in the merchant shipping convoys, we have decided, by successive steps during the last six months, to throw the emphasis rather more on the production of escort vessels, even though it means some impingement on new building. Very great numbers of escort vessels are being constructed in Great Britain and the United States, equipped with every new device of anti-U-boat warfare in all its latest refinements. We pool our resources with the United States, and we have been promised, and the promise is being executed in due course, our fair allocation of American-built escort vessels. There is another point. Everyone sees how much better it is to have fast ships than slow. This is also true of racehorses, as the Noble Lady was well aware in her unregenerate days. However, speed is a costly luxury. The most careful calculations are made and are repeatedly revised as between having fewer fast ships or more slow ones. The choice, however, is not entirely a free one. The moment you come into the sphere of fast ships, engine competition enters a new phase. It starts with the escort vessels but in other directions and also in the materials for the higher speed engines there come other complicated factors. I should strongly advise the House to have confidence in the extremely capable people who, with full knowledge of all the facts, are working day in day out on all these aspects and who would be delighted to fit an additional line of fast ships, even at some loss in aggregate tonnage, provided they could be sure that the engines would not clash with other even more urgent needs. In all these matters I should like the House to realise that we do have to aim at an optimum rather than at a maximum, which is not quite the same thing. On the offensive side the rate of killing U-boats has steadily improved. From 1472 January to October, 1942, inclusive, a period of 10 months, the rate of sinkings, certain and probable, was the best we have seen so far in this war, but from November to the present day, a period of three months, that rate has improved more than half as much again. At the same time, the destructive power of the U-boat has undergone a steady diminution since the beginning of the war. In the first year, each operational U-boat that was at work accounted for an average of 19 ships; in the second year, for an average of 12, and in the third year for an average of 7½. These figures, I think, are, in themselves, a tribute to the Admiralty and to all others concerned. It is quite true that at the present time, as I said in answer to an inquiry by my hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) the other day, we are making inroads upon the reserves of food and raw materials which we prudently built up in the earlier years of the war. We are doing this for the sake of the military operations in Africa and Asia and in the Far Pacific. We are doing it for the sake of the Russian convoys, and for the sake of giving aid and supplies to India and to Persia and other Middle Eastern countries. We are doing this on the faith of President Roosevelt's promise to me of large allocations of shipping coming to us, as the floods of American new building come upon the seas. Risks have to be run, but I can assure the House that these needs are not left to chance and to sudden and belated panic spurts. Provided that the present intense efforts are kept up here and in the United States, and that anti-U-boat warfare continues to hold first place in our thoughts and energies, I take the responsibility of assuring the House—and I have not misled them so far—that we shall be definitely better off, so far as shipping is concerned, at the end of 1943 than we are now, and while it is imprudent to try to peer so far ahead, all the tendencies show that unless something entirely new and unexpected happens in this well-explored field, we shall be still better off at the end of 1944, assuming that the war continues until then. It may be disappointing to Hitler to learn that we are upon a rising tide of tonnage and not upon an ebb or shrinkage, but it is the governing fact of the situation. Therefore, let everyone engaged in this sphere of operations bend to 1473 his or her task and try to get the losses down and try to get the launchings up; and let them do this, not under the spur of fear or gloom, or patriotic jitters, but in the sure and exhilarating consciousness of a gigantic task which is forging steadily forward to successful accomplishment. The more the sinkings are reduced, the more vehement our Anglo-American war effort can be. The margin, improving and widening, means the power to strike heavier blows against the enemy. The greater the weight we can take off Russia, the quicker the war will come to an end. All depends upon the margin of new building forging ahead over the losses, which, although improving, are still, as I have said, a lamentable and grievous fact to meditate upon. Meanwhile, let the enemy if he will, nurse his Vain hopes of averting his doom by U-boat warfare. He cannot avert it, but he may delay it, and it is for us to shorten that delay by every conceivable effort we can make. It was only after full, cold, sober and mature consideration of all these facts, on which our lives and liberties certainly depend, that the President, with my full concurrence as agent of the War Cabinet, decided that the note of the Casablanca Conference should be the unconditional surrender of all our foes. But our inflexible insistence upon unconditional surrender does not mean that we shall stain our victorious arms by wrong and cruel treatment of whole populations. But justice must be done upon the wicked and the guilty, and, within her proper bounds, justice must be stern and implacable. No vestige of the Nazi or Fascist power, no vestige of the Japanese war-plotting machine, will be left by us when the work is done, as done it certainly will be. That disposes, I think, of two important features of the Casablanca Conference, the recognition that the defeat of the U-boat and the improvement of the margin of shipbuilding resources is the prelude to all effective aggressive operations, and, secondly, after considering all those facts, the statement which the President wished to be made on the subject of unconditional surrender. But the Casablanca Conference was, in my not inconsiderable experience of these functions, in various ways unparalleled. There never has been, in all the inter-Allied Conferences I have known, anything like the prolonged professional 1474 examination of the whole scene of the world war in its military, its armament production and its economic aspects. This examination was conducted through the whole day, and far into the night, by the military, naval and air experts, sitting by themselves, without political influence thrust upon them, although general guidance was given by the President and by myself. But they were sitting by themselves talking all these matters out as experts and professionals. Some of these conferences in the last war, I remember, lasted a day or two days, but this was 11 days. If I speak of decisions taken, I can assure the House that they are based upon professional opinion and advice in their integrity. There never has been anything like that. When you have half a dozen theatres of war open in various parts of the globe there are bound to be divergences of view when the problem is studied from different angles. There were many divergences of view before we came together, and it was for that reason, that I had been pressing for so many months for the meeting of as many of the great Allies as possible. These divergences are of emphasis and priority rather than of principle. They can only be removed by the prolonged association of consenting and instructed minds. Human judgment is fallible. We may have taken decisions which will prove to be less good than we hoped, but at any rate anything is better than not having a plan. You must be able to answer every question in these matters of war and have a good, clear, plain answer to the question: what is your plan, what is your policy? But it does not follow that we always give the answer. It would be foolish. We have now a complete plan of action, which comprises the apportionment of forces as well as their direction, and the weight of the particular movements which have been decided upon; and this plan we are going to carry out according to our ability during the next nine months, before the end of which we shall certainly make efforts to meet again. I feel justified in asking the House to believe that their business is being conducted according to a definite design and, although there will surely be disappointments and failures—many disappointments and serious failures and frustrations—there is no question of drifting or indecision, 1475 or being unable to form a scheme or waiting for something to turn up. For good or for ill, we know exactly what it is that we wish to do. We have the united and agreed advice of our experts behind it, and there is nothing now to be done but to work these plans out in their detail and put them into execution one after the other. I believe it was Bismarck—I have not been able to verify it, but I expect I shall be able to find out now—who said in the closing years of his life that the dominating fact in the modern world was that the people of Britain and of the United States both spoke the same language. If so, it was certainly a much more sensible remark than some of those that we have heard from those who now fill high positions in Germany. Certainly the British and American experts and their political chiefs gain an enormous advantage by the fact that they can interchange their thoughts so easily and freely and so frankly by a common medium of speech. This, however, did not in any way diminish our great regret that Premier Stalin and some of his distinguished generals could not be with us. The President, in spite of the physical disability which he has so heroically surmounted, was willing to go as far East as Khartoum in the hope that we could have a tripartite meeting. Premier Stalin is, however, the supreme director of the whole vast Russian offensive, which was already then in full swing and which is still rolling remorselessly and triumphantly forward. He could not leave his post, as he told us, even for a single day. But I can assure the House that, although he was absent, our duty to aid to the utmost in our power the magnificent, tremendous effort of Russia and to try to draw the enemy and the enemy's air force from the Russian front was accepted as the first of our objectives once the needs of the anti-U-boat warfare were met in such a way as to enable us to act aggressively. We have made no secret of the fact that British and American strategists and leaders are unanimous in adhering to their decision of a year ago, namely, that the defeat of Hitler and the breaking of the German power must have priority over the decisive phase of the war against Japan. I have already some two months ago indicated that the defeat of the enemy 1476 in Europe may be achieved before victory is won over Japan, and I made it clear that in that event all the forces of the British Empire, land, sea and air, will be moved to the Far Eastern theatre with the greatest possible speed, and that Great Britain will continue the war by the side of the United States with the utmost vigour until unconditional surrender has been enforced upon Japan. With the authority of the War Cabinet, I renewed this declaration in our Conference at Casablanca. I offered to make it in any form which might be desired, even embodying it in a special Treaty if that were thought advantageous. The President, however, stated that the word of Great Britain was quite enough for him. We have already, of course, bound ourselves, along with all the rest of the United Nations, to go on together to the end, however long it may take or however grievous the cost may be. I therefore think it only necessary to mention the matter to the House in order to give them the opportunity of registering their assent to that obvious and very necessary declaration. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] We may now congratulate our American Allies upon their decisive victory at Guadalcanal, upon the taking of which the Japanese had expanded a serious part of their limited strength and largely irreplaceable equipment. We must also express our admiration for the hard-won successes of the Australian and American Forces, who, under their brilliant commander General MacArthur, have taken Buna in New Guinea and slaughtered the last of its defenders. The ingenious use of aircraft to solve the intricate tactical problems, by the transport of reinforcements, supplies and munitions, including field guns, is a prominent feature of MacArthur's generalship and should be carefully studied in detail by all concerned in the technical conduct of the war. In the meantime, while Hitler is being destroyed in Europe, every endeavour will be made to keep Japan thoroughly occupied and force her to exhaust and expend her material strength against the far superior Allied and, above all, American resources. This war in the Pacific Ocean, although fought by both sides with comparatively small forces at the end of enormous distances, has already engaged a great part of the American resources employed overseas as well as those of Australia and New Zealand. 1477 The effort to hold the dumbbell at arms length is so exhausting and costly to both sides that it would be a great mistake to try to judge the effort by the actual numbers that come into contact at particular points. It is a tremendous effort to fight at four, five and six thousand miles across the ocean under these conditions. It is the kind of effort which is most injurious to Japan, whose resources are incomparably weaker in material than those of which we dispose. For the time being, in the war against Japan the British effort is confined to the Indian theatre. Our Asiatic war effort is confined to operations to clear Burma, to open the Burma road and to give what aid can be given to the Chinese. That is the task which we have before us. We have been in close correspondence with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, whom of course we should have been delighted to see at our Conference had it been possible for him to come. General Arnold, head of the United States Air Force, and Field-Marshal Dill are at present in Chungking concerting what we have in mind with the Chinese Generalissimo. We have already received from him an expression of his satisfaction about the strong additional help that will be provided for China at this stage in her long-drawn, undaunted struggle. The Generalissimo also concurs in the plans for future action in the Far East which we have submitted to him as the result of our deliberations. A communiqué about this Conference, received only a few minutes ago, declares the complete accord between the three Powers in their plans for the co-ordination of their Forces and in their determination in all their operations against Japan to ensure continued efforts and mutual assistance. Discussions between General MacArthur and Field-Marshal Wavell will follow in due course. So much for the Casablanca decisions and their repercussions as far as they can be made public. I must, however, add this. When I look at all that Russia is doing and the vast achievements of the Soviet Armies, I should feel myself below the level of events if I were not sure in my heart and conscience that everything in human power is being done and will be done to bring British and American Forces into action against the enemy with the utmost speed and energy and on the largest scale. This the President and I have urgently and specifically enjoined upon our military advisers and experts. In approving their schemes and allocations of forces, we have asked for more weight to be put into the attacks and more speed into their dates. Intense efforts are now being made on both sides of the Atlantic for this purpose. From the Conference at Casablanca, with the full assent of the President, I flew to Cairo and thence to Turkey. I descended upon a Turkish airfield at Adana, already well stocked with British Hurricane fighters manned by Turkish airmen, and out of the snow-capped Taurus Mountains there crawled like an enamel caterpillar the Presidential train, bearing on board the head of the Turkish Republic, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, Marshal Chakmak, and the Party Leader—in fact, the High Executive of Turkey. I have already uttered a caution against reading anything into the communiqué which has already been published on this Conference, more than the communiqué conveys. It is no part of of our policy to get Turkey into trouble. On the contrary, a disaster to Turkey would be a disaster to Britain and to all the United Nations. Hitherto, Turkey has maintained a solid barrier against aggression from any quarter and by so doing, even in the darkest days, has rendered us invaluable service in preventing the spreading of the war through Turkey into Persia and Iraq, and in preventing the menace to the oilfields of Abadan which are of vital consequence to the whole Eastern war. It is an important interest of the United Nations and especially of Great Britain that Turkey should become well armed in all the apparatus of modem war and that her brave infantry shall not lack the essential, weapons which play a decisive part on the battlefields of to-day. These weapons we and the United States are now for the first time in a position to supply to the full capacity of the Turkish railways and other communications. We can give them as much as they are able to take, and we can give these weapons as fast as and faster than the Turkish troops can be trained to use them. At our Conference I made no request of Turkey except to get this rearmament business thoroughly well organised, and a British and Turkish Joint Military Mission is now sitting in Ankara 1479 in order to press forward to the utmost the development of the general defensive strength of Turkey, the improvement of the communications and, by the reception of the new weapons, to bring its army up to the highest pitch of efficiency. I am sure it would not be possible to pry more closely into this part of our affairs. Turkey is our Ally. Turkey is our friend. We wish her well, and we wish to see her territory, rights and interests effectively preserved. We wish to see, in particular, warm and friendly relations established between Turkey and her great Russian Ally to the North-West, to whom we are bound by the 20-years Anglo-Russian Treaty. Whereas a little while ago it looked to superficial observers as if Turkey might be isolated by a German advance through the Caucasus on one side and by a German-Italian attack on Egypt on the other, a transformation scene has occurred. Turkey now finds on each side of her victorious Powers who are her friends. It will be interesting to see how the story unfolds chapter by chapter, and it would be very foolish to try to skip on too fast. After discharging our business in Turkey I had to come home, and I naturally stopped at the interesting places on the way where I had people to see and things to do. I think that the story I have to tell follows very naturally stage by stage along my homeward journey. I have already mentioned to the House, at Question time the other day, my very pleasant stay during my return journey at Cyprus, which has played its part so well and is enjoying a period of war-time prosperity. But how different was the situation in Cairo from what I found it in the early days of last year. Then the Desert Army was bewildered and dispirited, feeling themselves better men than the enemy and wondering why they had had to retreat with heavy losses for so many hundreds of miles while Rommel pursued them on their own captured transport and with their own food, petrol and ammunition. Then the enemy was 60 miles from Alexandria, and I had to give orders for every preparation to be made to defend the line of the Nile, exactly as if we were fighting in Kent. I had also to make a number of drastic changes in the High Command. Those changes have been vindicated 1480 by the results. In a week an electrifying effect was produced upon the Desert Army by General Montgomery and by orders which he issued, and upon the whole situation by the appointment of General Alexander as Commander-in-Chief, Middle East. At the same time great reinforcements, despatched many weeks and even months before round the Cape of Good Hope, were steaming up the Red Sea and pouring into the Nile Valley. The American Sherman tank, which the President gave me in Washington on that dark morning when we learned of the fall of Tobruk and the surrender of its 25,000 defenders, came into the hands of troops thirsting to have good weapons to use against the enemy. As a consequence of those events and many others which could be cited, the enemy has been decisively defeated, first in the second Battle of El Alamein, where Rommells final thrust was repulsed, and, secondly, in the great battle for El Alamein, which will do down in history as the Battle of Egypt, for by it Egypt was delivered. On arriving in Cairo I found that now the enemy, who had boasted that he would enter Cairo and Alexandria and cross and cut the Suez Canal, and had even struck a medal to commemorate the event, of which I was handed a specimen, had been rolled back 1,500 miles, and it is probably 1,600 miles by now. What an amazing feat this has been. The battle is one story, the pursuit is another. So rapid an advance by such powerful, competent, heavily equipped forces over distances so enormous is, as far as I am aware, without parallel in modern war; and the Ancients had not the advantages of locomotion which we possess, so they are out of it anyway. Everywhere in Egypt there is a feeling that Britain has kept her word, that we have been a faithful and unfailing Ally, that we have preserved the Nile Valley and all its cities, villages and fertile lands from the horrors of invasion. It was always said that Egypt could never be invaded across the Western Desert, and certainly that historical fact has now been established upon modern and far stronger foundations. From Cairo I proceeded on my magic carpet to Tripoli, which 10 days before was in the possession of the enemy. Here I found General Montgomery. I must confess quite frankly that I had not 1481 realised how magnificent a city and harbour Tripoli has been made. It is the first Italian city to be delivered by British arms from the grip of the Huns. Naturally there was lively enthusiasm among the Italian population, and I can hardly do justice to the effusiveness of the demonstrations of which I was the fortunate object. I had the honour as your servant to review two of our forward divisions. The 51st Highland Division is the successor of that brave division that was overwhelmed on the coast of France in the tragedies of 1940. It has already more than equalised the account which Scotland had open in this matter. In the afternoon I saw a mass of 10,000 New Zealanders, who, with a comparatively small portion of their vast equipment of cannon, tanks and technical vehicles, took one-and-a-half hours to march past. On that day I saw at least 40,000 troops, and as representing His Majesty's Government I had the honour to receive their salutes and greetings. Meanwhile, of course, the front had rolled nearly another 100 miles farther to the West, and the beaten enemy were being pursued back to the new positions in Tunisia on which it is said they intend to make a stand. I do not wish to encourage the House or the country to look for any very speedy new results. They may come, or they may not come. The enemy have carried out very heavy demolitions and blockings in Tripoli harbour. Therefore, supply from the sea is greatly hampered, and I cannot tell what time will be required to clear the port and begin the building-up of a new base for supplies. It is not the slightest use being impatient with these processes. Meanwhile General Montgomery's Army is feeding itself from its base at Cairo, 1,500 miles away, through Tobruk, 1,000 miles away, and Benghazi, 750 miles away, by a prodigious mass of mechanical transport, all organised in a manner truly wonderful. Presently we may be able to move forward again, but meanwhile the enemy may have time to consolidate his position and to bring in further reinforcements and further equipment. Let us just see how things go. But I should like to say this; I have never in my life, which from my youth up has been connected with military matters, seen troops who march with the style and air of those of the Desert Army. Talk about spit and polish. The 1482 Highland and New Zealand Divisions paraded after their immense ordeal in the desert as if they had come out of Wellington Barracks. There was an air on the face of every private of that just and sober pride which comes from dear-bought victory and triumph after toil. I saw the same sort of marching smartness, and the same punctilio of saluting and discipline, in the Russian guard of honour which received me in Moscow six months ago. The fighting men of democracy feel that they are coming into their own. Let me also pay my tribute to this vehement and formidable General Montgomery, a Cromwellian figure, austere, severe, accomplished, tireless, his life given to the study of war, who has attracted to himself in an extraordinary measure the confidence and the devotion of his Army. Let me also pay, in the name of the House, my tribute to General Alexander, on whom the over-riding responsibility lay. I read to the House on 11th November the directive which in those critical days I gave to General Alexander. I may perhaps refresh the memory of hon. Members by reading it again: 1. Your prime and main duty will be to take or destroy at the earliest opportunity the German-Italian army commanded by Field-Marshal Rommel, together with all its supplies and establishments in Egypt and Libya. 2. You will discharge, or cause to be discharged, such other duties as pertain to your Command without prejudice to the task described in paragraph 1, which must be considered paramount in His Majesty's interests. I have now received, when, as it chanced, I visited the Army again, the following official communication from General Alexander, in which General Montgomery took great pleasure, and to which it will be necessary for us to send a reply: Sir, The Orders you gave me on August 15, 1942, have been fulfilled. His Majesty's enemies, together with their impedimenta, have been completely eliminated from Egypt, Cyrenaica, Libya and Tripolitania. I now await your further instructions. Well, obviously, we shall have to think of something else, and, indeed, this was one of the more detailed matters which we discussed in the Conference at Casablanca. I did not publish the original instructions to General Alexander until some months afterwards, when the Battle of Egypt had been won, and the House will naturally grant me a similar delay before I make public the reply to him which is now required. I should, however, inform the House and the country of the various changes in the High Command which the marked improvement in our affairs and the movements of the Armies have rendered suitable and necessary. This brings me to the general situation in French North-West Africa, on which I have a very few general remarks to make. The descent upon North Africa by the British and American Forces will, I believe, be judged in the words which Premier Stalin used to me when I told him about it in August last. He said that it was "militarily correct." It certainly has altered the strategic axis of the war. By this very large-scale manœuvre, thought by many experts to be most hazardous before it was undertaken, we recovered the initiative in the West, and we recovered it at comparatively small cost of life and with less loss in shipping than we gained by what fell into our hands. Nearly half a million men have been landed successfully and safely in North-West Africa, and those fair and beautiful regions are now under the control of the United States. We agreed with the President many months ago that this should be an American enterprise, and I have gladly accepted, with the approval of the War Cabinet, the position of lieutenant in this sphere. The Americans attach the greatest importance to unity of command between Allies and to control over all these Services being in the hands of one supreme commander. We willingly and freely accepted this position, and we shall act loyally and faithfully up to it on all occasions and in every respect. Some people are busily concerned about the past records of various French functionaries whom the Americans have deemed it expedient to employ. For my part, I must confess that I am more interested in the safety of the Armies and in the success of the operations which will soon be again advancing to an important climax. I shall therefore not take up the time of the House with the tales which can be told of how these various Frenchmen acted in the forlorn and hideous situation in which they found themselves when their country collapsed. What matters to General Eisenhower and to our troops, who, in great numbers, are serving under him, and what matters throughout this vast 1484 area of population of well over 16,000,000, 90 per cent. of whom are Moslems, is, first and foremost, a tranquil countryside, and, secondly, secure and unimpeded communications to the battle-front, which is now steadily developing on what I have called the Tunisian tip. I have not seen this battle front, I am sorry to say, because it is 400 miles distant by road from Algiers, where I spent last Friday and Saturday with General Eisenhower and Admiral Cunningham, and also with our Minister-Resident, the right hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Harold Macmillan), who is doing admirable work and becoming a real solver of problems—friends with everyone—and taking, with Mr. Murphy's co-operation, an increasingly heavy load off the shoulders of the Commander-in-Chief in regard to matters with which a military commander should not to be burdened. Although I did not have a chance to see this front—because one does get a number of communications from home from time to time—I can tell the House that conditions are absolutely different from those which the Desert Army has triumphantly surmounted. The Desert Army is the product of three years of trial and error and of continued perfecting of transport, communications, supplies and signals, and the rapid moving forward of airfields and the like. The Armies now fighting in Tunisia are still in a very early stage of building up their communications. The enemy opposite to them, although largely an improvised army, have something like the advantage which we had over Rommel in front of Cairo, I mean the advantage of lying 30 or 40 miles in front of your bases; while we have to go over very long, slender, tightly stretched and heavily strained approaches, in order to get at them. Very nearly did General Anderson, under General Eisenhower's orders, clear the whole province at a run. Very little more, and we might have achieved everything. It was absolutely right to try, but it failed. The Germans effected their entry, and made good their bridge-heads. We had to fall back to gather strength and to gather our resources for heavy battle. I cannot pretend not to be disappointed that the full result was not achieved at the first bound, Still, our main object is to fight the Germans, and one cannot be blind to the fact that we have made them fight us 1485 in a situation extremely costly to them and by no means disadvantageous to us. Although the enemy's lines of supply on land are short, they are under constant attack by sea. Before they reach the battlefield they lose one-quarter, or one-third even, of everything they bring across the sea. Our power of reinforcement is far greater and more secure than theirs. The portentous apparition of the Desert Army, driving Rommel before them, is a new, most potent and possibly even decisive factor. Air fighting is developing on an ever-increasing scale, and this is, of course, greatly to our advantage, because it would pay us to lose two machines to one in order to wear down the German air force and draw it away from the Russian front. However, instead of losing two planes to one, the actual results are very nearly the other way round. Therefore, it seems to me that the House need not be unduly depressed because the fighting in North Africa is going to assume a very much larger scale and last a longer time than was originally anticipated and hoped. It is, indeed, quite remarkable that the Germans should have shown themselves ready to run the risk and pay the price required of them by their struggle to hold the Tunisian tip. While I always hesitate to say anything which might afterwards look like over-confidence, I cannot resist the remark that one seems to discern in this policy the touch of the master hand, the same master hand that planned the attack on Stalingrad and that has brought upon the German armies the greatest disaster they have ever suffered in all their military history. However, I am making no predictions and no promises. Very serious battles will have to be fought. Including Rommel's army, there must be nearly a quarter of a million of the enemy in the Tunisian tip, and we must not in any way under-rate the hazards we have to dare or the burdens we have to carry. It is always folly to forecast the results of great trials of strength in war before they take place. I will say no more than this: All the disadvantages are not on one side, and certainly they are not all on our side. I think that conforms to the standards of the anti-complacency opinion in this country. French North-West Africa is, as I have said, a United States operation, under American command. We have agreed 1486 that the boundary between our respective spheres shall be the existing frontier between Tripolitania and Tunisia, but the Desert Army is now crossing that frontier and driving forward on its quest, which is Rommel. Its movements must, therefore, be combined with those of the First Army and with the various powerful forces coming from the West. For some weeks past, the commanders have been in close touch with one another; these contacts must now be formalised. As the Desert Army passes into the American sphere it will naturally come under the orders of General Eisenhower. I have great confidence in General Eisenhower. I regard him as one of the finest men I have ever met. It was arranged at Casablanca that when this transfer of the Desert Army took place, General Alexander should become Deputy Commander-in-Chief under General Eisenhower. At the same time, Air Chief Marshal Tedder becomes Air Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean, responsible to General Eisenhower for all the air operations in his theatre. He will control also all the Air Forces throughout the whole of the Middle East. This is absolutely necessary, because our Air Forces of Egypt, Cyrenaica and Libya, and also our powerful Air Forces operating from Malta, are actually attacking the same targets, both by bomber and fighter aircraft, as the United States and British Air Forces now working from Algeria and Tunisia are attacking. You must have one control over all this, and that control must be exercised under the supreme command of one man—and who better, I ask, than the trusty and experienced Air Chief Marshal Tedder, for whom General Eisenhower so earnestly asked? Under him, Air Vice-Marshal Coningham, hitherto working with the Eighth Army, whose services have been so much admired, will concert the air operations in support of the British First and Eighth Armies and other troops on the Tunisian battlefield. At the same time, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, who already commands all the British and American naval forces in this theatre, will extend his command Eastward so as to comprise effectively all the cognate operations inside the Mediterranean and the present Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean will become, with his headquarters in Egypt, Commander-in-Chief of the Levant, dealing also with the Red 1487 Sea and all approaches from that quarter. There is no need for me to announce exactly where the line of demarcation between those commands is drawn, but everything is arranged with precision. The vacancy in the Command of the Middle East created by General Alexander's appointment as Deputy Commander-in-Chief to General Eisenhower, will be filled by General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, now commanding in Persia and Iraq, where the Tenth Army, now become a very powerful force, is stationed. It is proposed to keep Persia and Iraq as a separate command for the present, and the new commander will shortly be appointed. Meanwhile, General Eisenhower has already obtained the consent of General Giraud, who commands the French Army fighting on the Tunisian front, an army which is being raised by American equipment to a very powerful force and which will play its part later on in liberating the French Motherland, to this Army being placed all under the command of General Anderson, together with the strong United States Forces, which have been moved forward into Tunisia. Thus we have a hierarchy established by international arrangement completely in accord with modern ideas of unity of command between various Allies and of the closest concert of the three Services. I make an appeal to the House, the Press and the country, that they will, I trust, be very careful not to criticise this arrangement. If they do so, I trust they will not do it on personal lines, or run one general against another, to the detriment of the smooth and harmonious relations which now prevail among this band of brothers who have got their teeth into the job. In General Eisenhower, as in General Alexander, you have two men remarkable for selflessness of character and disdain of purely personal advancement. Let them alone; give them a chance; and it is quite possible that one of these fine days the bells will have to be rung again. If not, we will address ourselves to the problem, in all loyalty and comradeship, and in the light of circumstances. [Interruption.] I have really tried to tell the House everything that I am sure the enemy knows and to tell them nothing that the enemy ought to know: [HON. MEMBERS: "Ought not to know."] 1488 There was a joke in that Still, I have been able to say something. At any rate, I appeal to all patriotic men on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to stamp their feet on mischief-makers and sowers of tares wherever they may be found, and let the great machines roll into battle under the best possible conditions for our success. That is all I have to say at the present time. I am most grateful for the extreme kindness with which I am treated by the House. I accept, in the fullest degree, the responsibility of Minister of Defence and as the agent of the War Cabinet, for the plans we have devised. His Majesty's Government ask no favours for themselves. We desire only to be judged by results. We await the unfolding of events with sober confidence, and we are sure that Parliament and the British nation will display in these hopeful days, which may nevertheless be clouded o'er, the same qualities of steadfastness as they did in that awful period when the life of Britain and of our Empire hung by a thread.

07 февраля 2013, 03:40

Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse – Part Three of Three

Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse – Part Three of Three By Cognitive Dissonance     Chapter One may be found here. Chapter Two may be found here   The high priests of the religious cult When we point to the economic math as proof that the system is doomed, and then claim foul when ‘they’ manipulate the math (for example with understated inflation and unemployment rates or overstated GDP, corporate profits, total employment, growth etc.) all the hidden hands are really engaging in is massive (global) perception management among the mostly mindless minions. They are giving the unquestioning, but willing, a reason to continue to believe and a place to endow their faith.    But even more important the high priests must preach to the choir for this is where the (new and improved) dogma and doctrine is directly passed on, reinforced and deeply embedded. Perception management must occur among the million or more (U.S. and global) financial professionals who act as local and regional ‘economechanical’ priests and centers of influence (read faith and belief leaders) of the artificial economic reality being created and manipulated in ‘real’ time by the elite. [‘Economechanical’ is a term I have coined to describe how the economists see the economy as a mechanical engine fueled by interest rates, incentives and stimulus rather than as an emotional organism driven primarily by faith and belief and (emotionally) manipulated by various whistles and bells. See Chapter Two for more details.] As long as the music still plays on (and by constantly and incrementally changing the tune the music can play for much longer than we think) even if the professional financial priest harbors great doubt about the viability of the system or the ethics of what he (or she) does, he must continue to dance or be left off the dance floor and out of this very financially rewarding (religious) profession. As long as the professional priests continue to dance and lend their perceived credibility and influence to those who might be best characterized as laymen, thus buttressing the layman’s faith and belief, the system can and will limp along for quite a long time. Not only must the lower level financial professionals buy in and be in sync with the dogma of the promoted financial reality, so too must the upper level of the economechanical hierarchy. Faith and belief in nonsensical ‘truths’ is difficult to maintain in isolation, especially when it contradicts our inner knowing and common sense. The upper echelons (other than the true psychopaths) are not immune to cognitive dissonance and will waver if not steadied and externally supported. Those who are not reinforced from time to time tend to stray a bit and begin to lose faith, particularly when there are locals with pitchforks and torches outside the main gate. Thus we see the real reason behind high level financial and political conferences such as the recent gathering of the top tier faithful at Davos, Switzerland. Each level of the hierarchy must regularly gather in order to resynchronize with the ever changing alternative reality frequency, which in turn helps to harden the newly created psychological cement that binds together the money meme. This is vital if the farce is to be over powering and able to withstand dissent and disbelief. This is also the real reason behind the Federal Reserve Board meetings every six to seven weeks. The high priests must gather to conduct cult policy review and hand out holy dispensations and divine guidance to the lower levels of the cult hierarchy while simultaneously engaging in ritual practices to strengthen the money meme, first within the gathered select attendees and then filtered down to the brain washed cult followers and sycophants. Fed speak is at least equivalent to, if not exceeding, Pope speak and anyone who cannot see this is either in denial or just in too deep.      Lots and lots of wiggle room If we wish to believe that two plus two equals five or that the answer to life, universe and everything is forty two, then math is no longer a constraining factor upon the present economic system. But the socioeconomic system relies on mathematics to support our faith and belief in the system primarily because we have near complete faith and belief in mathematics and the sciences. In chapter two I questioned the wide degree of wiggle room we afford the sciences, the constant backtracking, correcting and amending that occurs in the so called ‘precise’ sciences, including physics and economics. But one can see that this wiggle room, these allowed wide tolerances in what is consistently promoted as exact and precise, is actually regularly exploited by the cult leaders to maintain authority while handing down new and ever more fantastical decries and mandates. We observe the same thing in organized religion and various other ‘consumer’ cults. The word of (God, Fashion, Entertainment, Consumer products, fill in the blank) is THIS and must be followed to the letter…….except when it is this, this, that or those over there. Wait, is it Fed Tuesday? Then forget all that, because this right here is now the word of “Ben the Bearded Beneficent”.     Special thanks to WilliamBanzai7 for this image.   In effect when the ‘authorities’ lie and manipulate they are distorting our perceived reality and relying on the fact that our desire to maintain our status quo within the system through our support of the system (the compromised ‘we’ I discussed in Chapter One) will be greater than our desire to know the ‘truth’ of the situation, which all of us know will undermine our faith and belief and the system with it. So help me God we really don’t want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Jean-Claude Juncker said as much when he stated that when things get serious you have to lie. The authority must lie because most people do not want to hear the truth precisely because that particular truth will undermine the BIG LIE. The official lie in question is actually just one lie within hundreds of deeper lies, all supporting each other like a house of cards. If the authority were to admit the truth, especially when faith and belief is at its weakest, then those who are psychologically dependent upon the entire house of lies would be forced to question everything if this truth were exposed. A crisis of faith is what would result, and the high priests (in this case Juncker) don’t want that to happen when blind unquestioning faith among the dependent believers is all that is holding the economic wreck together. Based upon my casual discussions with average people everywhere I eat, shop and play, while the details may not be known, most people really do know that things are worse than we are being told. But to truly ‘know’ it, meaning to have it confirmed by an external authority, makes it real and undeniable and something we must now face. There will be no more wiggle room left for us to exploit; the warm dark place denial grows and prospers in. If we live by the affirmation of the external authority, then we die by the affirmation of the external authority. As long as they continue to tell us things are OK we’re gonna believe them…..even if we really don’t. Once we ‘know’ something it is now ours to own and deal with. Since we cannot un-know something, only deny it, we would much rather not know it in the first place. This leads directly to believing anything but the truth which helps explain some of the incredible lies the authorities seem to get away with. Simply put a lie is a deliberate distortion applied to a perceived reality and the lie is always used to maintain or buttress faith and belief in whatever we want to believe in, be it our spouse, children, employer, friends, neighbors, teachers, corporations, government etc. Or in this case the very socioeconomic system that offers us a direct and continuing promise to enable our health, wealth and wellbeing. As we all slide down the slippery slope to economic hell the dying cry will be “But they promised……………” The official lie is most effective when we want to believe the lie more than we wish to know the truth simply because the compromised person is supplying the unquestioning belief with no demand of the liar for ‘proof’ or confirmation. “Daddy, tell me another lie so that I may believe it is the truth.” For example, when there is suspicion but an unwillingness to believe the suspicion (aka denial), how many people really want their spouse to tell them the truth about their infidelity? I’ll bet ten bucks nearly every reader’s ego just reflexively said “I would want the truth”. Under those circumstances (suspicion and denial) not only will many want their spouse to lie, but they will want their spouse to lie well enough that they have less trouble believing the lie to be the truth. In order to do this we will deny our denial by telling ourselves and our spouse that we really do want the truth, while ‘secretly’ hoping to be lied too IF there really is infidelity involved. When deeply conflicted and compromised we ask questions in such a way as to telegraph our desired answer, for example “Tell me you’re not cheating on me honey.” Who has not felt great relief to hear what we wanted to hear (“No honey, I am NOT cheating on you.”) even when nagging doubt and suspicion lingered? How many times have we avoided asking our children the really tough questions when we harbored strong suspicions we weren’t getting the whole truth? Or that we ignored some glaring inconsistencies or a flat out lie in order not to know the truth we suspected might be lurking. Or sometimes we just want to avoid the hassle and confrontation, a convenient excuse, so we go along with it and not challenge the lie. If we do this often and long enough, soon we begin to believe the lie because it has never been directly refuted. In effect the lie is being indirectly supported by not being challenged by the person being lied to, making us in many ways complicit. The ultimate effect is that the lie begins to take on a ‘truth’ life of its own. When this happens, truth becomes whatever we want it to be because it is constructed almost entirely of lies with just enough truth mixed in to give it some street cred in our minds. No ugly shapes or sharp edges to deal with this way. But deep down inside we know we are living a lie and it eats at us from within, creating a deep neurosis and a thoroughly compromised being. Once we ignore the lie psychologically we become enablers of the lie. Every time we ignore the lie we are deepening our involvement and our own culpability. Soon enough we find ourselves defending the lie in order to defend ourselves. To out the lie and the liar at a later date means outing our prior complicity, even if only to ourselves. This is why we find so many people believing the official lie(s) and actively supporting that which is contrary to their best interest or basic beliefs. The greater the distance between the person and the effects of the (official) lie (i.e. death by Drone of brown people in Pakistan) the easier it is to maintain the lie. Vice versa, when close proximity to the effects of the lie threatens exposure to or even direct (emotional, psychological or physical) harm to us (i.e. death by Drone of American citizens in America) we tend to ramp up our righteous indignation to psychologically cover our complicity. Maybe it’s just best to just leave sleeping dogs lie (sic). We do exactly the same thing with all aspects of the government, military, judicial system, corporations and of course the financial system. Please don’t tell me because I just don’t want to know. And to make sure I don’t know what I don’t want to know……I won’t ask.     Willing participation doesn’t necessarily mean in agreement with Earlier I stated that willing participation can be defined as just about any participation, regardless of whether it’s agnostic, mindless, suspect, hostile, even forced or compelled. One’s faith and belief in the socioeconomic system doesn’t need to be total and unwavering (though that would be ideal) nor even in agreement, just that there be no other viable competing meme to divert or distract the participants’ focus and energy. This helps explain the tremendous amount of energy expended by the fiat magicians to demean, deny and manipulate the meme competing precious metals. When you cut through all the smoke screens, deliberate distractions and ritual practices this is a truism for any cult, not just the money meme. In order to maintain its supremacy, a cult and its leaders cannot tolerate significant internal dissent or disbelief (or external for that matter, though it isn’t quite as critical) because its primary energy source is belief. Even if we don’t agree with the process, even if we feel compelled to do as we are told, as long as we exchange our labor, goods and services for script, then exchange that script for other labor, goods or services, we are willingly participating. It doesn’t matter if we are locked into the money meme by law, which in turn is enforced with an implied state threat of violence if we do not obey. Each time we accept currency in exchange for our labor, we want to believe that it will maintain the ‘value’ we just embedded in it with our labor so that we can exchange the script for whatever it is that we wish to purchase at ‘fair value’. The fact that it does maintain the vast majority of its value for the relatively short period of time it takes us to engage in most of our transactions just serves to reinforce our belief in the currency. The proof of our (mostly unquestioning) belief is that we give this concept little to no thought while we are engaged in our various purchases. We open our wallet or purse and pull out some currency or a credit/debit card and we pay. While we may complain about the price, on a day to day basis most of us don’t see the rising price(s) for what it really represents, the diminished value of our currency, but rather just the need for more ‘money’ for that week’s groceries because prices always go up. Even those of us who understand what’s really going on don’t automatically think currency devaluation when we stop at the gas pumps. We just think in terms of the need for more money because gas is up again. This just serves to prove how much faith and belief we really do have in a currency we say we don’t believe in. To those who would argue that they really do not believe in the system, that they are simply going with the flow and accepting their paycheck or any other compensation they receive in whatever coin of the realm is demanded of them, my response is simple. The system feeds upon your ‘willing’ participation in whatever form you present it as. You believe that for now, with ‘now’ measured in years, months, weeks, days or just hours, that whatever fiat chit you are handed can and will be used to pay your bills, purchase your precious metals and do whatever else you desire. Belief does not have to be total and unquestioning in order to be effective and energizing. The system feeds off of this mental and emotional flow, and not necessarily in any static stock of belief. As Zero Hedge’s Tyler Durden likes to say, it’s not the stock but the flow. Our voluntary tax The same concept of ‘willingness' applies to the US Federal income tax system. It is promoted as ‘voluntary’ by those who control and benefit from it because we voluntarily file our own tax return with ‘volunteered’ information. Our tax declaration (aka our tax return) is not prepared for us by a central authority (because that would be involuntary) but by us and us alone, thus the reasoning behind this twisted logic. Most importantly, we declare our voluntary participation in the money meme to be true or ‘real’ when we sign the tax form (“….and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete.”) thus closing the mind control loop with our affirmation of the true or ‘real’ nature of the artificial reality. We then document or seal this consent with our symbol of willing participation, our signature. This is an extremely powerful form of mind control magic in every sense of the word. This concept can be applied to all (financial) contracts we negotiate and enter into. In the eyes of the ‘law’ (another powerful mind control meme I won’t even begin to discuss here) and with the benefit of centuries of social conditioning, as well as the proclaimed foundational basis for the capitalistic economic system we supposedly live within, we are all free to engage in commerce and to sell our labor to the highest bidder. The presumption is always that you are a willing and engaged participant and that any transaction you undertake is done without coercion or duress despite the obvious nature of your coercion and duress. In fact, even when we know that we ‘have no choice’ (aka under duress) we still (must) apply our symbol of acceptance and agreement, our signature, to the document saying that we do so willingly, freely and of sound mind and body. Without understanding (or believing) the subtleties of exactly how subliminal mind control works, it is extremely difficult to understand how powerful this force is. Our total subjugation is never more apparent as when we see polling that indicates that a tremendous percentage of the population believes that regardless of whether there might have been fraud involved in the mortgage process, since they signed the loan documents to purchase their home they are personally bound to honor the loan. This in spite of the clear and obvious fact that the other party to the fraudulent transaction did not feel honor bound either to (any of) their agreements or to the (spirit of the) law underpinning their agreements, thus invalidating the loan contract based upon common sense and moral grounds if nothing else. Sadly the average person still wishes to believe that the courts and the legal system are there to protect them (the prey) from the predators, when in fact it is explicitly designed to protect the predators from the prey. Only the thoroughly captured psyche of the mind controlled and conditioned (wage) slave exhibits such a distorted and misplaced sense of honor and subservience to their abusive owner/master. The controller/master will always stack the socioeconomic deck in his or her favor as long as willing wage slaves keep lining up to play. Sadly the system stacking goes so much deeper than just the deck.     Frogs in the pot I am not being judgmental here, just calling it as I see it. It is obvious that I’m cooking in the same mind subliminal control pot as everyone else and I struggle to find ways to protect myself and my family, often from me and my own life long conditioning. If I am to have any hope of success then I must understand both my mind and that of the predator, thus the reason for my constant self examination and for posting my occasional musings here on Zero Hedge. Unfortunately nearly everyone rejects the notion that they are under the influence of any type or form of mind control (well………they might be influenced, but certainly not me) despite enormous and glaring examples everywhere we turn. Advertising is a huge example of continuous overt and covert manipulative mind control and conditioning techniques employed to the nth degree. Because a more aware and deeper understanding of our everyday exposure to advertising totally contradicts our own deeply held (manufactured and conditioned) image of a self directed life, our ego goes to great lengths to shield us from this emotionally disturbing information. When shielded by our ego, when protected from ourselves by our ‘self’, we tend to mostly ignore any information contrary to our deep seated belief systems or we prefer to believe that we are forced into participating, that we have no choice in the matter. Victimhood is always and forever a perfectly blameless occupation. Or better yet, at least from the mind control perspective, we (want to) believe we have freedom of choice and that we willingly choose mind control and slavery. Though our ego would rather have us think of it in terms of modern day prosperity and opportunity via a college education and a career ladder. Every right thinking individual wants a well appointed hamster cage with exercise wheel and flat screen TV. This is where the leverage of the mind control comes from and where it is applied; by skillfully using our self induced blindness of what is quite obvious to any disinterested and unaffected observer against us. The art of mind control is not just to compel you to do something you would not ordinarily do if of sound mind and body, but to instill in you the belief that the idea originated within, and that it is what you truly desire. This sub conscious high jacking simply cannot be accomplished for long if we always keep a central self awareness in the front of our mind. I was the problem, I am the problem and I will always be the problem for as long as I do not see the problem. And the problem is that I am the problem. This is not an exercise in self abuse as some (egos) might claim, but rather an exercise in humility and self understanding. The problem, and thus the solution springs from within. If we understand how ‘willing’ doesn’t mean ‘in agreement’ then it really doesn’t matter if our Federal income tax participation is compelled in dozens of different ways, including involuntary tax withholding and mandatory reporting of our financial information from various financial sources. From the mind control perspective certain acts must appear to be voluntary in order for the (money meme) mind control to effectively work. I understand that this explanation of our ‘willing’ involvement will irk many who read this and rightfully so. It is never easy to face yourself naked in the mirror for the first, second or third time. But in a closed loop socioeconomic system there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. This fact just makes it that much more important that we be brutally honest with ourselves and that we proactively practice personal sovereignty beginning with eliminating our comforting and disabling self deceptions. We so want to believe and are hurt when we can’t If the economic math doesn’t fit the reality then slowly change the mathematical equations in order to create additional plausibility. This effectively extends and fortifies the severely weakened economic reality, essentially providing additional or renewed reasons to continue to believe. If nothing else this buys the system controllers more time which is then used by those who abuse and control to loot, pillage and batten down the hatches while further turning the screws of oppression on the willing wage slaves. As I have said before we really do want to believe, even those who claim they want the entire stinking mess to collapse. They see no alternative to the current state of affairs, so they champion scrapping the present system only because they wish to create a new, more fair and equitable (money meme) system upon which they can once again ‘willingly’ bestow their full faith and belief. The far more common apathetic response is actually still willing participation without exhibiting explicit agreement or resistance to the unacknowledged symbiotic bargain. An emotional escape route (apathy) is preloaded to relieve the pent up frustration and anger that comes from being (self) trapped with nowhere to hide. Long term caged wild (human) animals often demonstrate this behavior, a sign of deep neurosis and emotional paralysis. They still wish to believe, but are unwilling to invest the emotional energy to actually believe for fear of once again being bitterly disappointed. In the case of the more thoroughly captured minds, the thought of living without the present day money meme is so disorientating and frightening that they will plead with their abusers to do whatever it takes to continue the existing system. From the perspective of the mind control meme there really is no other way to describe all these mindsets other than ‘willing’ regardless of whether it is coerced, manipulated, passive or desperately offered. As simplistic as the above descriptions might sound they pass the smell test quite well. The mind control method of slow incremental changes to our perceived reality has actually been used repeatedly for hundreds (thousands) of years. The rules, particularly the unwritten ones, have been repeatedly changed and the outer boundaries continuously pushed further and further back. And yet even though the system appears to be ever more unstable, the music plays on and the puppets continue to dance. This in turn leads the clueless and asleep, as well as the doubting Thomases among the financial professionals, to think that things must be somewhat OK since the entire global economic contraption manages to creak along. It certainly helps to assuage the growing fear within the professional financial community that maybe she might just blow.     Don’t look now but….. When the international Gold standard was found to be too constrictive, ‘they’ changed the rules and parameters of the then present day paradigm and created a new reality of ‘safe’ un-backed leveraged fiat (the petrodollar was the eagerly accepted cover story) simply by gaining an overwhelming buy in first from the international high priests, then by the lower level local/regional faith and belief leaders (the financial professionals) who in turn induced the acceptance of the changed conditions within the true power base, the compliant and complicit public. Any new economic reality can be created as long as there is sufficient buy in by those who manage the active ingredient, our faith and belief. That means you and me folks. Ultimately this is a top down process, leaving the actual reality creation in the control of the elite essentially by default since we long ago abdicated our responsibility to do so. I would suggest that within the present day madness any socioeconomic construct is doomed to fail from the moment it is birthed simply because it is almost always based upon some type of widely believed mathematical parameters that have strongly perceived inviolable boundaries. These are initially set in stone to instill faith and belief in the new economic system, and are designed to engender confidence in a new non-real reality. Often this was done because the ‘new’ currency/economic system is replacing one which just failed to retain widespread faith and belief and thus was abandoned by the population, usually because it was used and abused by the elite minority to enslave and control and loot the majority to the point of utter disbelief.  While a quick Internet search will disclose certain ideal traits that many claim are needed to create a fully functioning and long lived currency, and by extension a (re)new(ed) economic system, in fact the only critical characteristic needed is confidence in the currency, essentially faith and belief that it will serve the needs of the participants with a minimum of risk and a maximum of utility. Or at least that the pain inflicted upon the population by those who control the system is perceived to be tolerable in exchange for certain valuable considerations. Ideally, with the proper amount of externally applied propaganda and conditioning (cough, cough….mind control….cough) we might even be convinced to believe that the pain is desirable, such as the fiction that inflation (legal institutionalized theft if you really want to properly describe it) is good for you and me. I’m not saying that the old economechanical rules can be repeatedly violated with impunity or that there will be no blowback. Not in the least. But we are all affected by our continuity and normalcy bias (aka egoic denial techniques) which in turn help to reinforce the present day false paradigm. Taken as a whole, this counteracts some of our fading faith and belief, allowing the socioeconomic system to perpetuate far beyond the point of no return. Remember that Wile E Coyote does not actually fall once he has ventured past the cliff edge until he looks down and recognizes, then emotionally accepts, that there is no more support underneath. It is only when he emotionally internalizes his certain fate by way of a ‘help’ sign or just his pitiful knowing eyes that he actually begins to fall. Since we really don’t want to look anyway, any plausible excuse (and a few that defy the imagination) will do in a cognitive pinch because it is not the actual hearing or seeing of the lie that is so comforting, but the emotional relief we feel when we are offered the lie that will not force us to contradict what we want to believe is the truth. We all do this folks. The only questions are how often and how well do we hide it from ourselves. False hope chains us to impossible conditions As much as we, the contrary observers, wish for it to be otherwise, for now at least we are a very small (but growing) minority. And within the present day consensus reality where faith and belief are the reality creators, or at the very least the reality enablers and the active force behind and the bedrock support of the current socioeconomic paradigm, to ignore or to down play the power of this phenomenon is to ignore the true reason why the present economic system has managed to last this long, and may last even longer than we can possibly imagine.     I wish to emphasize that this is not to say that the system isn’t degrading rapidly, even exponentially. Nor that there will not be sudden and widespread economic dislocations or even outright failures (read that as stock market panics and runs on the banks) as the rot progresses and subsystems become ever more fragile. But contrary to perceived common sense even these obvious public signs of pending system failure will not initially be fully believed and accepted as truly threatening by the general population (because unlike the impossibility of being a little bit pregnant, one can be a little bit in denial) and will most likely be more or less denied precisely because they are so detrimental to all. There is no doubt that there will be more and more people trying to run for the exits as their faith and belief wane. But once they realize that the exit doors are too small or too crowded for them to get out (or worse that the exit just leads them directly back into the burning building) a great hue and cry will rise from the flames demanding that those who are destroying the system better damn well fix the system. Once again the prey will demand that the predators be put in charge of leading the prey to (another) slaughter. When our world view is directly threatened, most of us will reject that which contradicts our beliefs or threatens our perceived livelihood and economic safety. The more threatened we feel and/or the closer we believe the danger to be, the greater the tendency there is to remain in denial or even to vigorously support that which we are dependent upon. Those who don’t wish to see (and the worse it gets the more who will fit this description) the more they will seek the comforting lie and the emotional crutches authored by public authorities. Child like, many will ask for the lie (and the scapegoat) so that we may self deceive.    Because society’s tremendous momentum of prior belief and willingness to be lied to will be combined with deliberate fear mongering and outright official denial (and don’t forget the all important scapegoating) even when the system reaches critical failure points, the entire financial structure will most likely not collapse in one fell swoop. Instead what will likely happen is that large and small pieces will break loose and fall off, only to be quickly hammered back into place in whatever sloppy way they can manage. If the emergency carpentry fails to ‘fix’ the problem, and it will not, then the failures will be replaced with even more fantastical economic creations and financial manipulations that defy wavering believers to look too close for fear of glimpsing the ugly truth. This includes political and economic machinations that would boggle the mind if presented today, but will most likely be welcomed with open arms when the frightened truly become desperate and panicked. Like a person navigating a descending set of irregular, uneven and crooked steps, the financial system will probably bumble and stumble on down into oblivion, with each step possessing a different drop and duration, some very large and some small. There will even be occasional rises and short lived landings before the next section of the barn begins to crumble. It is impossible to say exactly how this will all work out simply because the world’s elites have never been to this point before and neither have we. But we would be fools to think that such a complex living organism with so many moving parts and such emotional energy (I would argue that denial is the strongest emotion, surpassing love and hate by a country mile) will act like a complex mechanical machine and simply stop one day, though parts of it most certainly will.     Measuring weakness by our strength In my opinion it is the absolute conviction of our basic belief systems that is keeping the system supported and in place, at least for the moment. I’m not just talking about the socioeconomic system, but our unquestioning and absolute faith and belief in the larger generally prevailing worldview of how things work. This includes our fundamental belief in math, science, technology, religion, matter, energy and so on. I’ll cover this in greater detail in a future article, but our worldview spans so much more than just a belief in the surface functionality and utility. It is not the Federal Reserve or the banksters or the various dependent-upon-unlimited-fiat-creation governments that are supporting the present day socioeconomic system. I would argue that the ultimate strength of any complex economic organism is the faith and belief the dependent participants have in that very same system. That faith comes from you and me and the guy down the street, not from the Fed, the government nor the banksters. They do not create our faith and belief, but rather they are the recipients, manipulators and abusers of our faith and belief. So when we measure the fragility of any socioeconomic system we must actually measure the strength of those who support it, particularly their faith and belief. After several generations of rote education and reflexive conditioning combined with an ever increasing dependence upon the very system we now claim will collapse quickly and completely, may I suggest that our faith and belief, and ultimately the false hope that it engenders, will die a long, hard and very painful death. Thus any economic system supported by our captured minds will also die a long, hard and painful death.   While I will not argue with the belief that the dozens upon dozens of economic and cultural death spasms will be sudden, violent and most certainly unpredictable, the faithfully desperate believers, facing the black abyss of self sufficiency and self reliance after dozens and dozens of years of dependency conditioning, will beg to be saved from themselves, thus supporting a doomed system long past its perceived expiration date. False hope chains us to our own self delusions. This truism cannot be over stated. At one time or another we have all clung to impossible situations way too long for our own good when we were emotionally dependent, regardless of the ‘facts’ of the situation. ‘We the herd’ will undoubtedly do so as well. Long live denial. 02-06-2013   Cognitive Dissonance

28 января 2013, 18:00

What Separates a Good Data Scientist from a Great One

Companies that wish to take full advantage of their data must build strong, new, and different organizational capabilities. There is a lot to do, and data scientists are front and center. Good ones are rare. And critically, the difference between a great one and a good one is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. A good one can help you find relationships in vast quantities of disparate data — often important insights that you would not have gotten in any other way. Great data scientists, on the other hand, develop new insights about the larger world. They certainly use data to develop those insights, but that is not the point. Over the years I've had the privilege of working with dozens, maybe hundreds, of good statisticians, analysts, and data scientists. And a few great ones. Great data scientists bring four mutually reinforcing traits to bear that even the good ones can't. 1. A sense of wonder. Recently, many have noted that curiosity is the number one trait of a data scientist. That should go without saying. Good data scientists must be curious, just like a scientist in any discipline must be. But the great ones take this trait to an extreme. They have a sense of wonder about the world and are happiest when they discover how something works or why it works that way! They look for those explanations in data — and anything else that will help. For example, great data scientists are interested in many things and develop networks of people with different perspectives than their own. So much the better to explore the world, and a mass of disparate data, from many angles! 2. A certain quantitative knack. Great data scientists simply see things that others don't. For example, I happened to chat with a summer intern (who now uses his analytical prowess as head of a media company) on his second day at an investment bank. His boss had given him a stack of things to read, and in scanning through, he spotted an error in a returns' calculation. It took him about an hour to verify the error and determine the correction. What's important here is that thousands of others did not see the error. It was obvious to him, but not to anyone else. And this was a top-tier investment bank. Presumably, at least a few good analysts read the same material and did not spot it. Mathematics has turned out to provide a convenient, amazingly-effective language (Einstein used the phrase "unreasonably effective") for describing the real world. The great data scientist taps into that language intuitively and easily in ways that even good data scientists cannot. 3. Persistence. The great data scientists are persistent, and in many ways. The intern in the vignette above made his discovery at a glance and confirmed it in an hour. It rarely works out that way. I believe it was Jeff Hooper, then at the great Bell Labs, who noted that "Data do not give up their secrets easily. They must be tortured to confess." This is a really big deal. Even under the best of circumstances, too much data are poorly defined and simply wrong, and most turn out to be irrelevant to the problem at hand. Staring through this noisy data is arduous, frustrating work. Even good data scientists may move on to the next problem. Great data scientists stick with it. Great data scientists also persist in making themselves heard. Dealing with a recalcitrant bureaucracy can be even more frustrating than dealing with noisy data. Continuing the vignette from above, I told the intern that he was in for a long summer. He would almost certainly spend it defending his discovery. Whichever group made the error would take great offense and may even attack him personally. Others would react with glee as they celebrated the ignorance of their peers. And he'd be caught in the middle. 4. Finally, technical skills. The abilities to access and analyze data using the newest methods are obviously important. But I'm less concerned about these than the ability to bring statistical rigor to bear. At the risk of oversimplifying, there are two kinds of analyses — descriptive and predictive. Descriptive analyses are tough enough. But the really profitable analyses involve prediction, which is inherently uncertain. Great data scientists embrace uncertainty. They recognize when a prediction rests on solid foundations and when it is merely wishful thinking. They are simply outstanding in describing here's what has to go right for the prediction to hold; here's what will really foul it up; and here are the unknowns that will keep me awake at night. They can often quantify the uncertainty, and they are good at suggesting simple experiments to confirm or deny assumptions, reduce uncertainty, explore the next set of questions, etc. To be clear, this ability is not "that certain quantitative knack." It is trained, sophisticated, disciplined inferential horsepower, practiced and honed by both success and failure. Great data scientists are truly special. They're the Derek Jeters, the Michael Jordans, the Mikhail Barishnikovs, and the Julia Robertses of the data space. If you're serious about big data and advanced analytics, you need to find one or two, build around him or her, and craft an environment that helps them do their thing.

23 января 2013, 17:57

Does China Plan To Establish 'China Cities' And 'Special Economic Zones' All Over America?

Michael Snyder, ContributorActivist Post What in the world is China up to? Over the past several years, the Chinese government and large Chinese corporations (which are often at least partially owned by the government) have been systematically buying up businesses, homes, farmland, real estate, infrastructure and natural resources all over America. In some cases, China appears to be attempting to purchase entire communities in one fell swoop. So why is this happening?  Is this some form of "economic colonization" that is taking place? Some have speculated that China may be intending to establish "special economic zones" inside the United States modeled after the very successful Chinese city of Shenzhen.  Back in the 1970s, Shenzhen was just a very small fishing village, but now it is a sprawling metropolis of over 14 million people.  Initially, these "special economic zones" were only established within China, but now the Chinese government has been buying huge tracts of land in foreign countries such as Nigeria and establishing special economic zones in those nations.  So could such a thing actually happen in America? Well, according to Dr. Jerome Corsi, a plan being pushed by the Chinese Central Bank would set up "development zones" in the United States that would allow China to "establish Chinese-owned businesses and bring in its citizens to the U.S. to work."  Under the plan, some of the $1.17 trillion that the U.S. owes China would be converted from debt to "equity".  As a result, "China would own U.S. businesses, U.S. infrastructure and U.S. high-value land, all with a U.S. government guarantee against loss."  Does all of this sound far-fetched?  Well, it isn't.  In fact, the economic colonization of America is already far more advanced than most Americans would dare to imagine. So how in the world did we get to this point?  A few decades ago, the United States was the unchallenged economic powerhouse of the world and China was essentially a third world country. So what happened?Well, we entered into a whole bunch of extremely unfavorable "free trade" agreements, and countries such as China began to aggressively use "free trade" as an economic weapon against us. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; Over the past decade, we have lost tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs to China. When the final numbers for 2012 come out, our trade deficit with China for the year will be well over 300 billion dollars, and that will be the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the world. Overall, the U.S. has run a trade deficit with China over the past decade that comes to more than 2.3 trillion dollars.  That 2.3 trillion dollars could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers, and in turn taxes would have been paid on all of that money.  But instead, all of that money went to China. Rather than just sitting on all of that money, China has been lending much of it back to us - at interest.  We now owe China more than a trillion dollars, and our politicians are constantly pleading with China to lend more money to us so that we can finance our exploding debt. Today, the U.S. government pays China approximately 100 million dollars a day in interest on the debt that we owe them.  Those that say that the U.S. debt "does not matter" are being incredibly foolish.So thanks to our massive trade deficit and our exploding national debt, China is systematically getting wealthier and the United States is systematically getting poorer. And now China is starting to use a lot of that wealth to aggressively expand their power and influence around the globe. But isn't it more than a bit far-fetched to suggest that China may be planning to establish Chinese cities and special economic zones in America? Not really. Just look at what has already happened up in Canada.  It is well-known that the Chinese population of Vancouver, Canada has absolutely exploded in recent years.  In fact, the Vancouver suburb of Richmond is now approximately half Chinese.  The following is an excerpt from a BBC article...Richmond is North America's most Asian city - 50% of residents here identify themselves as Chinese. But it's not just here that the Chinese community in British Columbia (BC) - some 407,000 strong - has left its mark. All across Vancouver, Chinese-Canadians have helped shape the local landscape.A similar thing is happening in many communities along the west coast of the United States.  In fact, Chinese citizens purchased one out of every ten homes that were sold in the state of California in 2011. But in other areas of the United States, the Chinese are approaching things much more systematically. For example, as I have written about previously, a Chinese group identified as "Sino-Michigan Properties LLC" has purchased 200 acres of land near the town of Milan, Michigan.  Their stated goal is to build a "China City" that has artificial lakes, a Chinese cultural center and hundreds of housing units for Chinese citizens. In other instances, large chunks of real estate in major U.S. cities that are down on their luck are being snapped up by Chinese investors.  Just check out what a Fortune article from a while back says has been happening over in Toledo, Ohio...In March 2011, Chinese investors paid $2.15 million cash for a restaurant complex on the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio. Soon they put down another $3.8 million on 69 acres of newly decontaminated land in the city's Marina District, promising to invest $200 million in a new residential-commercial development. That September, another Chinese firm spent $3 million for an aging hotel across a nearby bridge with a view of the minor league ballpark.Toledo is being promoted to Chinese investors as a "5-star logistics region".  From Toledo it is very easy to get to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Indianapolis...With a population of 287,000, Toledo is only the fourth largest city in Ohio, but it lies at the junction of two important highways -- I-75 and I-80/90. My vision is to make Toledo a true international city, Toledo's Mayor Mike Bell told the Toledo Blade.But some of these deals appear to be about far more than just making "investments".  According to the Idaho Statesman, a Chinese company known as Sinomach (which is actually controlled by the Chinese government) was actually interested in developing a 50 square mile self-sustaining "technology zone" south of the Boise airport...A Chinese national company is interested in developing a 10,000- to 30,000-acre technology zone for industry, retail centers and homes south of the Boise Airport.Officials of the China National Machinery Industry Corp. have broached the idea — based on a concept popular in China today — to city and state leaders.The article suggested that this "technology zone" would be modeled after similar projects that already exist in China, and that Chinese officials were conducting similar negotiations with other U.S. states as well...Sinomach is not looking only at Idaho. The company sent delegations to Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania this year to talk about setting up research and development bases and industrial parks. It has an interest in electric transmission projects and alternative energy as well. The technology zone proposal follows a model of science, technology and industrial parks in China — often fully contained cities with all services included.Thankfully the deal in Idaho appears to be stalled for now, but could we soon see China establish special economic zones in other communities all around America? The Chinese certainly do seem to be laying the groundwork for something.  They have been voraciously gobbling up important infrastructure all over the country.  The following comes from a recent American Free Press article...In addition to already owning vital ports in Long Beach, Calif. and Boston, Mass., the China Ocean Shipping Company is eyeing major ports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. China also owns access to ports at the entry and exit points of the Panama Canal. And due to fiscal woes plaguing many American cities and states, U.S. legislators have been actively seeking out Chinese investors. In one of the worst cases, Baton Rouge, La., Mayor Kip Holden offered the Chinese government ownership and operating rights to a new toll way system if the Chinese would provide the funding to build it.Does it make sense for the Chinese to own some of our most important ports? Isn't there a national security risk? Sadly, there isn't much of anything that our politicians won't sell these days as long as someone is willing to flash a lot of cash. The Chinese have also been busy buying up important real estate on the east coast as a recent Forbes article explained….According to a recent report in the New York Times, investors from China are 'snapping up luxury apartments' and are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on commercial and residential projects like Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Chinese companies also have signed major leases at the Empire State Building and at 1 World Trade Center, the report said.But it is not only just land and infrastructure that the Chinese have been buying up. They have also been purchasing rights to vital oil and natural gas deposits all over the United States. There have been two Chinese companies that have been primarily involved in this effort. The first is the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).  According to Wikipedia, CNOOC is 100 percent owned by the Chinese government…CNOOC Group is a state-owned oil company, fully owned by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, and the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) performs the rights and obligations of shareholder on behalf of the government.The second is Sinopec Corporation.  Sinopec Group is the largest shareholder (approx. 75% ownership) in Sinopec Corporation.  And as the Sinopec website tells us, Sinopec Group is fully owned by the Chinese government…Sinopec Group, the largest shareholder of Sinopec Corp., is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical group incorporated by the State in 1998 based on the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Funded by the State, it is a State authorized investment arm and State-owned controlling company.So whenever you see CNOOC or Sinopec, you can replace those names with the Chinese government.  The Chinese government essentially runs both of those companies. And as you can see from the following list compiled by the Wall Street Journal, those two companies have been extremely aggressive in buying up rights to oil and natural gas all over the nation...Colorado: Cnooc gained a one-third stake in 800,000 acres in northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming in a $1.27 billion pact with Chesapeake Energy Corp. Louisiana: Sinopec has a one-third interest in 265,000 acres in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale after a broader $2.5-billion deal with Devon Energy. Michigan: Sinopec gained a one-third interest in 350,000 acres in a larger $2.5 billion deal with Devon Energy. Ohio: Sinopec acquired a one-third stake in Devon Energy’s 235,000 Utica Shale acres in a larger $2.5 billion deal. Oklahoma: Sinopec has a one-third interest in 215,000 acres in a broader $2.5 billion deal with Devon Energy. Texas: Cnooc acquired a one-third interest in Chesapeake Energy’s 600,000 acres in the Eagle Ford Shale in a $2.16-billion deal. Wyoming: Cnooc has a one-third stake in 800,000 acres in northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming after a $1.27 billion pact with Chesapeake Energy. Sinopec gained a one-third interest in Devon Energy’s 320,000 acres as part of a larger $2.5 billion deal. Gulf of Mexico: Cnooc Ltd. separately acquired minority stakes in some of Statoil ASA’s leases as well as six of Nexen Inc.’s deep-water wells.So why is the U.S. government allowing this? That is a very good question. For a nation that purports to be pursuing "energy independence", we sure do have a funny way of going about things. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that China is absolutely mopping the floor with the United States on the global economic stage.  China is rising and America is in an advanced state of decline.  Global economic power has shifted dramatically and most Americans still don't understand what has happened. The following are 44 more signs of how dominant the economy of China has become...1. A Chinese firm recently made a $2.6 billion offer to buy movie theater chain AMC.2. A different Chinese firm made a $1.8 billion offer to buy aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft.3. In December it was announced that a Chinese group would be purchasing AIG's plane leasing unit for $4.23 billion.4. It was recently announced that the Federal Reserve will now allow Chinese banks to buy up American banks.5. A $190 million bridge project up in Alaska was awarded to a Chinese firm.6. A $400 million contract to renovate the Alexander Hamilton bridge in New York was awarded to a Chinese firm.7. A $7.2 billion contract to construct a new bridge between San Francisco and Oakland was awarded to a Chinese firm.8. The uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team were made in China.9. 85 percent of all artificial Christmas trees are made in China.10. The new World Trade Center tower is going to include glass that has been imported from China.11. The new Martin Luther King memorial on the National Mall was made in China.12. In 2001, American consumers spent 102 billion dollars on products made in China.  In 2011, American consumers spent 399 billion dollars on products made in China.13. The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.14. According to the New York Times, a Jeep Grand Cherokee that costs $27,490 in the United States costs about $85,000 in China thanks to all the tariffs.15. The Chinese economy has grown 7 times faster than the U.S. economy has over the past decade.16. The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.17. The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.18. Overall, the United States has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.19. According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.20. Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.21. In 2010, China produced more than twice as many automobiles as the United States did.22. Since the auto industry bailout, approximately 70 percent of all GM vehicles have been built outside the United States.23. After being bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, General Motors is currently involved in 11 joint ventures with companies owned by the Chinese government.  The price for entering into many of these “joint ventures” was a transfer of “state of the art technology” from General Motors to the communist Chinese.24. Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.25. The United States has lost more than a quarter of all of its high-tech manufacturing jobs over the past ten years.26. China’s number one export to the U.S. is computer equipment.27. The number one U.S. export to China is "scrap and trash".28. The U.S. trade deficit with China is now more than 28 times larger than it was back in 1990.29. Back in 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was just 6 million dollars for the entire year.  For the month of November 2012 alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 28.9 billion dollars.30. China now consumes more energy than the United States does.31. China is now the leading manufacturer of goods in the entire world.32. China uses more cement than the rest of the world combined.33. China is now the number one producer of wind and solar power on the entire globe.34. Today, China produces nearly twice as much beer as the United States does.35. Right now, China is producing more than three times as much coal as the United States does.36. China now produces 11 times as much steel as the United States does.37. China produces more than 90 percent of the global supply of rare earth elements.38. China is now the number one supplier of components that are critical to the operation of U.S. defense systems.39. A recent investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services found more than one million counterfeit Chinese parts in the Department of Defense supply chain.40. 15 years ago, China was 14th in the world in published scientific research articles.  But now, China is expected to pass the United States and become number one very shortly.41. China now awards more doctoral degrees in engineering each year than the United States does .42. According to one study, the Chinese economy already has roughly the same amount of purchasing power as the U.S. economy does.43. According to the IMF, China will pass the United States and will become the largest economy in the world in 2016.44. Nobel economist Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040 if current trends continue. Without the "globalization" of the world economy, none of this would have ever happened.  But instead of admitting our mistakes and fixing them, our politicians continue to press for even more "free trade" and even more integration with communist nations such as China. In fact, according to Dr. Jerome Corsi, the U.S. government has already set up 257 "foreign trade zones" all over America.  These "foreign trade zones" are apparently given "special U.S. customs treatment" and are used to promote "free trade"…Corsi noted that the U.S. government has created 257 foreign trade zones, or FTZs, throughout the United States, designed to extend special U.S. customs treatment to U.S. plants engaged in international-trade-related activities. The FTZs tend to be located near airports, with easy access into the continental NAFTA and WTO multi-modal transportation systems being created to move free-trade goods cheaply, quickly and efficiently throughout the continent of North America. There is nothing in the U.S. government’s description of FTZs that would prevent a foreign government, like China, from operating a shell U.S. company that is in reality owned and financed by the Chinese government and operated through a Chinese government-owned corporation, Corsi wrote.Sadly, we are probably going to see a whole lot more of this in the years ahead. According to Corsi, a professor of economics at Tsighua University in Beijing named Yu Qiao has suggested the following plan as a way to transform the debt that the United States owes China into something more "tangible"...China would negotiate with the U.S. government to create a “crisis relief facility,” or CRF. The CRF “would be used alongside U.S. federal efforts to stabilize the banking system and to invest in capital-intensive infrastructure projects such as high-speed railroad from Boston to Washington, D.C. China would pool a portion of its holdings of Treasury bonds under the CRF umbrella to convert sovereign debt into equity. Any CRF funds that were designated for investment in U.S. corporations would still be owned and managed by U.S. equity holders, with the Asians holding minority equity shares “that would, like preferred stock, be convertible.” The U.S. government would act as a guarantor, “providing a sovereign guarantee scheme to assure the investment principal of the CRF against possible default of targeted companies or projects”. The Federal Reserve would set up a special account to supply the liquidity the CRF would require to swap sovereign debt into industrial investment in the United States. Apparently the Bank of China really likes this plan and would like to see something like this implemented.In the years ahead, perhaps many of you will end up working in a "special economic zone" for a Chinese company on a project that is being financially guaranteed by the U.S. government. If that sounds like a form of slavery to you, the truth is that you are probably not too far off the mark. The borrower is the servant of the lender, and we should have never allowed ourselves to get into so much debt. Now we will pay the price. To get an idea of how much the world has changed in recent years, just check out this incredible photo which contrasts the decline of Detroit over the years with the amazing rise of Shanghai, China. Things did not have to turn out this way.  Unfortunately, we made decades of incredibly foolish decisions and we wrecked the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen. Now the future for America looks really bleak. Or could it be that I am being too pessimistic?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below...This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. 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