Scotland: Devolution in the 21st Century

Alone, Scotland will go back to being a failed state … Yes supporters are hoping Scotland will become a Scandinavian paradise. But with its history of bitter internal divisions, it is likely to go the opposite way. The Union was a success partly because it sublimated the bitter Scottish divisions in a larger United Kingdom. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: What a disaster. The world needs a union, not a separation.
Free-Market Analysis: We’ve written about this once already, but we didn’t want to write about it again until the aftermath. But then it occurred to us that no matter what happens regarding Scotland, the entropy of the modern age has been advanced. And that’s a good thing.
We’ve been beating this particular drum for a number of years – in fact, over a decade now. The Internet, we came to believe, was a great Yang to the elite’s Yin. And that trend continues. Despite all the false-flags and strategies of control, the cultural conversation of the West and even the world is trending away from globalism.
Now, we’re also aware that the mainstream press has been giving the Scottish question an incredible amount of attention. That’s suspicious, of course, and there could be several explanations.
First of all, it could be that an independent Scotland is intended to writhe in splendid isolation, bereft of money, industry and influence in order to serve as an object lesson to others who may wish to take the same path.
Second, we can certainly imagine that an “independent” Scotland would be one that its officials would meekly guide into the waiting arms of the EU as quickly as possible, thus reinforcing the idea that in this day and age no single European entity can stand alone or apart from the waiting arms of Mother Europe.
Finally, there is the possibility that Scotland’s voters reject the idea of independence, which would presumably reduce the overt enthusiasm and support for similar movements elsewhere.

This post was published at The Daily Bell on September 18, 2014.

Putin, Merkel Discuss Ukrainian Ceasefire, Gas Deliveries to Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed in a phone call on Monday the situation around the current ceasefire regime and deliveries of Russian gas to Europe, the Kremlin said.
"Putin and Merkel exchanged opinions on the situation with deliveries of Russian natural gas to EU member-states and agreed that the consultations in a three party format should continue," a statement on the Kremlin website said.
The leaders also discussed the development of the situation in Ukraine with focus on the importance of strict compliance with the ceasefire regime by the sides of the internal Ukrainian conflict and the effective monitoring of the situation by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Kremlin said.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

Slovak Prime Minister Warns Ukraine of ‘Ultimate Disintegration’

Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico on Saturday warned Ukraine about the perils associated with the European and possibly NATO integration, saying the east European nation was tittering on the brink of an ultimate collapse.
"I think that Ukraine will find it hard to stand against all the challenges associated with the EU integration, because it is now facing an absolute disintegration… I also disagree with the assumption that Ukraine could one day become a NATO member since this would undermine security in the region," Fico said in an interview with the Bratislava-based newspaper Novy Cas.
"Only diplomatic steps can put an end to what is now happening in Ukraine. Look, there's already been a third wave of senseless sanctions, and what has changed? Nothing. We can only expect more firm response measures from Russia," the Slovak official noted.
Robert Fico also told the country's daily that he would sooner step down than see a NATO military base built in Slovakia.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

Petrodollar Panic: EU Officials Admit Buying Oil From ISIS

We recently explained how ISIS remains so well funded but what was unclear was who exactly what purchasing their ‘recently-provisioned’ oil reserves? The assumption being some desperate third-world nation or some scheming offshore hedge-fund arbitrageur; however, as Sott.net reports, a senior European Union official has revealed that some EU member states have purchased oil from ISIL Takfiri militants despite their rhetoric against the group. The official declined to disclose any names but Turkey remains a front-runner (having already shunned President Obama) andpotentially France (after their recent anti-Petrodollar comments).
As The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness ( @kelseyjharkness ) notes,

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/15/2014.

Ukraine President’s Days Numbered After Broad Accusations Of “Betraying National Interests”

As we summarized late on Friday, while Europe has been banging the populist drums over ever-escalating Russian sanctions, it quietly and without much fanfare folded in the one place where Russia could have been truly hurt, the Free Trade (DFCTA) agreement between Ukraine and the EU. But while Europe would have loved for nobody to notice, some did, and not just on these pages: far more importantly, so did the citizens of Ukraine where as the WSJ reports, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko faces rising criticism for his decision to delay implementation of part of a European Union deal to avoid threatened Russian retaliation.
And this is why neither side can afford to blink, because the moment one side folds, its domestic support collapses. And blinking is precisely what Ukraine just did and with that it set in motion the events that will likely terminate prematurely the brief, irrelevant presidency of Ukraine’s “Chocolate Baron” Poroshenko.
From WSJ:
A senior diplomat resigned in protest over the weekend, and pro-European politicians who are competing with Mr. Poroshenko’s party in parliamentary elections next month blasted the decision as caving to Russia, which wants Ukraine to give up the deal and remain in its orbit. The tensions highlight how difficult it will be for Mr. Poroshenko to manage the competing pressures of a Kremlin that isn’t backing down and a domestic electorate that wants closer ties to Europe and no concessions to Moscow. On Friday, Ukraine and the EU agreed to put off implementing a landmark trade deal, which is part of a broader pact aimed at strengthening their ties, after Moscow threatened trade restrictions that would have crippled Ukraine’s already limping economy.
A cease-fire in the east, where Russia-backed rebels hold several towns and cities, is still largely holding despite scattered fighting. A government spokesman said Sunday that Ukrainian troops had repelled an assault on Donetsk airport by 200 pro-Russia rebels.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/15/2014.

Former BP CEO Warns “Sanctions Will Bite West” As US Gives Majors 14 Days To Wind Down Russian Activities

For the past six months, even as Obama and the EU were laying harsher sanctions on the Kremlin, one group of companies had managed to sneak by unscathed and largely avoided being impacted by Russia’s isolation by the West: the world’s biggest E&P companies, as explained in detail over a month ago in “Exxon Drilling Russian Arctic Shows Sanction Lack Bite.”
All that is about to change, because while sanctions until this moment had been largely intended tospecifically allow energy companies to continue their status quo in Russia, as of this Friday, it is precisely the E&Ps that are being targeted, as we noted on Friday, and as Reuters follows up today, reporting that some of the world’s largest companies, namely Exxon, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Statoil and Italian ENI, will have to be put their Russian projects on hold: to wit, the companies will have 14 days to wind-down activities.
From Reuters:
Projects now in jeopardy include a landmark drilling program by U. S. giant Exxon Mobil in the Russian Arctic that started in August as part of a joint venture with the Kremlin’s oil champion Rosneft. Now this and dozens of other projects that Rosneft and Gazprom Neft agreed with Exxon, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Statoil and Italian ENI will have to be put on hold.
“Cutting off U. S. and E. U. sources of technology and services and goods for those projects makes it impossible, or at least extraordinarily difficult for these projects to continue…There are not ready substitutes elsewhere,” a senior U. S. administration official told a briefing on Friday.
The companies will have 14 days to wind-down activities.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/14/2014.

Europe Folds To Russian Demands, Delays Ukraine Free Trade Deal By Over A Year

While the world was poring through the details of the latest round of preannounced western sanctions against Russia – a round which Russia commented would have virtually no actual impact – and just as excitedly awaiting the Kremlin’s retaliation which Putin warned is coming shortly, far from the glare of the center stage Europe quietly folded to a bigger Russian demand namely to delay the implementation of a Ukraine free trade deal by more than one year until the end of 2015 and likely beyond.
As AFP reported, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said, after talks with Russian and Ukrainian ministers, that the free trade agreement which Ukraine and its imploding economy had hoped would be implemented in the immediate future, will instead be delayed. Perhaps the date of the provisional launch has something to do with it: EU sources said the trade deal was to have taken effect on November 14, i.e. in the middle of Europe’s cold, snowy, GDP-sapping winter. The European Council of 28 members states must now sign off on the delay.


This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/12/2014.

Moscow Views New E.U. Sanctions as Illegitimate: Kremlin

Moscow regrets E.U. decision to impose new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine and views them as illegitimate, the Kremlin spokesman said Thursday.
“We regret the decision by E.U. countries to introduce a new round of sanctions [against Russia],” Dmitry Peskov told reporters in the capital of Tajikistan.
“We have said on numerous occasions that we do not understand and reject the idea of sanctions imposed earlier, while considering them as illegitimate,” Peskov said.
The spokesman added that the new sanctions did not make sense in view of efforts made recently by Russia to stop the bloodshed and to assist in a peaceful resolution of the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

Despite economic fears, the E.U. sanctions Russia again

The European Union on Thursday slapped more sanctions on Russia for helping separatists destabilize Ukraine, limiting Russia’s access to its financial market, hitting the country’s vital oil industry, curbing high-tech exports and targeting more officials with travel bans and asset freezes.
Many E.U. members had been loath to increase the sanctions against Russia for fear of jeopardizing their close trade relationships with Moscow. But a compromise struck in a video conference call with top EU leaders broke a deadlock that had paralyzed the 28-nation bloc from taking tougher action over the past ten days.
Under the compromise hashed out by leaders including Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande, the sanctions could be reversed within weeks if the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine holds.

This post was published at Washington Post

US at War with ISIS in Middle East, Ukraine Crisis and More Sanctions Against Russia

The following video was published by Greg Hunter on Sep 11, 2014
America is at war in the Middle East. President Obama came on national media this week and said ISIS terrorists in eastern Syria and western Iraq ‘will find no safe haven,’ and he wants to ‘ultimately destroy ISIL.’ Of course, Secretary of State John Kerry said it really was not a war but a ‘significant counter-terror operation.’ To that I say horse hooey! This is war any way you cut it, even if it is supposedly only an air campaign with military ‘advisors.’ Just think, President Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize at the beginning of his first term. Will he have to give it back? The Russians also charge this is more about getting a pipeline through Syria than it is about fighting terrorism. The pipeline is natural gas, and Qatar wants to start supplying Europe. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, is worried that a bombing campaign could lead to a ‘huge escalation in the conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.’
Speaking of natural gas, Europe is about to have theirs cut off. There are new sanctions coming from the U. S. and the EU over the Ukraine crisis. It’s going to involve Russia’s biggest energy companies, among other sanctions, but the oil companies are the biggies here. Russia will respond, and what do you bet it will involve higher gas prices and less of it this winter in Europe? The European economy is already in a tail spin, and this will surely drive it into a depression. News flash–even the new President of Ukraine says most, if not all, Russian fighters have left the country. Russia says they were never there to begin with, but Ukraine says they are ‘mostly gone.’ So, what gives with the new sanctions?

Casting Russia as Expansionist to Advance EU Solidarity

Fragmentation fashion across Europe means German hegemony, if we’re lucky … The German people so far remain a bastion of rationalism, holding together as others tear themselves apart. Europe is disintegrating. Two large and ancient kingdoms are near the point of rupture as Spain follows Britain into constitutional crisis, joined like Siamese twins. – Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: Devolution and secession are dangerous conceptually and in action.
Free-Market Analysis: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard provides us with a trenchant analysis of what’s taking place in Europe, and then makes a wrong turn toward the end of the article. He does that a lot these days.
Nonetheless, it’s an interesting report, explaining that Europe is increasingly verging on entropy.
For a mainstream media guy, he can be pretty provocative.
Here’s more:
The post-Habsburg order further east is suddenly prey to a corrosive notion that settled borders are up for grabs. “Problems frozen for decades are warming up again,” said Giles Merritt, from Friends of Europe in Brussels.
The best we can hope for – should tribalism prevail – is German political hegemony in Europe. The German people so far remain a bastion of rationalism, holding together as others tear themselves apart. The French are too paralysed by economic depression and the collapse of the Hollande presidency to play any serious role.

This post was published at The Daily Bell on September 12, 2014.

Fishing for Trout With Rope and Mashed Potatoes; Mentality of Jackasses; Gas Pains

The EU stepped up its sanctions today after forcing all the ducks in line with the position of president Obama. Russia immediately responded in kind with actions on cars, clothes, and energy.
The Financial Times reports Russia Threatens to Cap Western Car and Clothing Imports.
Russia threatened to escalate a growing trade dispute between the Kremlin and the EU, saying it could cap western car and clothing imports.
The fresh warning came as EU diplomats ended a week-long deadlock on Thursday over a new round of sanctions against the Kremlin, and agreed to trigger measures to block Russia’s largest state-owned oil companies from raising money on European capital markets.
Forcing Ducks In Line
The measures were due to go into effect at the start of the week, but several EU countries balked, arguing they needed more time to assess whether the Kiev-brokered ceasefire would take hold.
Diplomats said the decision by EU ambassadors to press ahead came after Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, held a conference call on Thursday with the leaders of the four European countries in the Group of Seven leading industrialised nations – Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Franois Hollande, Britain’s David Cameron and Italy’s Matteo Renzi – to finalise the measures.

This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on September 11, 2014.

Russia Responds To The Latest European Sanctions: “You Leave Us No Choice”

As usual, every European snaction (sic) has an equal and opposite Russian reaction. Here is how the Russian Foreign ministry responded to what van Rompuy announced earlier today would be a new round of Russian sanctions, which wil finally be enforced tomorrow. First from the Russian foreign ministry:
BY PASSING NEW ANTI-RUSSIAN SANCTIONS, EU EFFECTIVELY MADE CHOICE AGAINST PEACE PROCESS IN UKRAINE – RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY’S STATEMENT And from Russia’s European ambassador:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/11/2014.

Scottish Independence or Scotland In Dependence? – Geneva Business Insider

The following video was published by corbettreport on Sep 10, 2014
This month on the Geneva Business Insider, James and David preview next week’s Scottish independence vote and the various political forces that are clashing as the Scottish people go to the polls. We discuss the push for NATO membership, EU membership and a central bank for “free” Scotland and how it undermines the entire push for independence. We also examine the latest on the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine and the specter of a cyber-hacking bank bailout.

George Soros Warns “This Is The Worst Possible Time” For Scottish Independence

Authored by George Soros, originally posted Op-Ed at The FT,
This is the worst possible time for Britain to consider leaving the EU – or for Scotland to break with Britain.
The EU is an unfinished project of European states that have sacrificed part of their sovereignty to form an ever-closer union based on shared values and ideals. Those shared values are under attack on multiple fronts. Russia’s undeclared war against Ukraine is perhaps the most immediate example but it is by no means the only one. Resurgent nationalism and illiberal democracy are on the rise within Europe, at its borders and around the globe.
Since world war two the European powers, along with the US, have been the main supporters of the prevailing international order. Yet, in recent years, overwhelmed by the euro crisis, Europe has turned inward, diminishing its ability to play a forceful role in international affairs.
To make matters worse, the US has done the same, if for different reasons. Their preoccupation with domestic matters has created a vacuum that ambitious regional powers have sought to fill.
The resulting breakdown of international governance has given rise to a plethora of unresolved crises around the globe. The breakdown is most acute in the Middle East. The sudden emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or Isis, provides the most gruesome example of how far it can go and how much human suffering it can cause.
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, military conflict has spread to Europe. Two radically different forms of government are competing for ascendancy. The EU stands for principles of liberal democracy, international governance and the rule of law. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin maintains the outward appearance of democracy by exploiting a narrative of ethnic and religious nationalism to generate popular support for his corrupt, authoritarian regime.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/11/2014.

France says will not meet E.U. deficit rules until 2017

Crisis-wracked France on Wednesday said it would not be able to get its public deficit under the EU maximum of three percent until 2017, pushing the target back by two years.
Finance Minister Michel Sapin said France's deficit would be 4.4 percent of output in 2014, dropping only slightly to 4.3 percent in 2015. He added the target of getting below the three-percent ceiling would not happen until 2017, instead of 2015 as previously forecast.

This post was published at France24

Spain is Militarizing Against Citizens – The Coming Civil War?

The Spanish government is militarizing gearing up for violent protests against the EU that are expected to turn up before a hot autumn. Spain is now equipping the police for about one billion euros with new combat equipment. Violent protests in Spain since the crisis began almost a daily occurrence. Movements such as 25 de Mayo or the Indignados call Spaniards of all strata of the population to protest against the government on the streets. The police will always respond violently. They cover up their brutal responses by banning any video of police beatings making it a crime in itself. This is certainly illustrating the loss of freedom and any democratic process within Europe. The police scandals have only charged the atmosphere within the population and we may see this erupt into civil war as we move forward.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on September 10, 2014.

Russian Retaliation Begins: Gazprom “Limiting EU Gas”, Cuts Poland Supplies By 24% In Past Two Days

Over the weekend, we commented that in response to Europe’s latest, and most serious, sanction round which would finally impact Russian energy giants Rosenft, Gazprom Neft (but not Gazprom) and Transneft, “suddenly the stakes for Russia, and thus Europe, just got all too real, as Putin will now have no choice but to really ramp up the retaliatory escalation, which following the food ban can only mean one thing: a staggered reduction in gas flow to Europe.“
And while Europe appears to have blown its load prematurely, with the sanctions leaked before Europe actually has the consensus to implement them (it is now a daily threat by Europe which is screaming that it will impose the sanctions any minuteyet not actually doing so), Russia has no such moral quandaries and three days following our forecast, here comes Gazprom confirming once again that it is perfectly happy to play the “mutual defection” strategy in the ongoing and ever escalating game theory between Europe and Russia for one simple reason: it has all the leverage.
From Bloomberg:
RUSSIA LIMITING EU GAS TO RESTRICT REVERSE SUPPLY TO UKRAINE In other words, this is only the beginning as Ukraine has clearly made the case that it will plug its gas reserve gap using “reverese flow” of Russian gas in transit to Europe. More importantly, this follows news earlier today from Poland’s PGNiG which said Gazprom lowered supply by 20%-24% in past 2 days.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/10/2014.

Scottish Vote Scares London

We have been warning that the Scottish separation was something to take seriously since the Berlin Conference in 2012. Now suddenly the polls are showing Scotland just may vote YES and leave the UK because of the rising chaos in the EU and the totally insane policies in France. The British financial markets tumbled on Monday after an opinion poll showed for the first time this year that Scots may vote for independence in a referendum next week on the 18th, breaking up the United Kingdom that was first joined in 1707.
The latest poll has sent a shock-wave that is bordering on the verge of a panic among Britain’s ruling elite. The chart pattern of the pound looks like a Waterfall Event. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-led government is now suddenly promising proposals this week to grant Scotland greater autonomy if it stays. All the pundits had said we were wrong and there was no support in Scotland for such a separation

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on September 9, 2014.

EU Threatens New Sanctions; Russia Responds with Threats on Natural Gas and Airspace Flight Restrictions

The tit-for-tat sanction madness in Europe took a huge leap forward today with new sanctions in the work on Russian energy companies. Russia responded by threatening to restrict commercial flights over its airspace, by threatening to halt reverse flows of natural gas to Ukraine, and with a threat to reduce gas delivery to Europe. EU Plans New SanctionsThe Wall Street Journal reports New EU Sanctions to Stop Fundraising by 3 Russian Oil Giants
New European Union sanctions on Russia will expand the number of Russian companies unable to raise money in the bloc’s capital markets to include three state-owned oil companies, according to documents seen by The Wall Street Journal. The documents show the EU seeking to hit Russian oil companies, but leaving unscathed those involved in gas production and export, which are critical to many European countries’ energy supplies. Under a modest expansion of sanctions introduced in late July, the three oil companies – Gazpromneft, the oil-production and refining subsidiary of OAO Gazprom, oil transportation company Transneft, and oil giant Rosneft – will be forbidden from raising funds of longer than 30 days’ maturity.

This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on September 08, 2014.