- HOME Basecamp
- HOME Basecamp
- PAGES Who Are We
- PAGES Who Are We
- OUR WORK See Our Work
- OUR WORK See Our Work
- GALLERY Our Images
- GALLERY Our Images
- BLOG Latest News
- BLOG Latest News
- CONTACT Get In Touch
- CONTACT Get In Touch
Two months ago we noted the clashes between the Libyan government and the rebels over selling oil. It appears the rising threats are reaching a crescendo as AABAA reports the Libyan Navy has impounded a North Korean oil tanker trying to export oil from a rebel-held port of Es-Sider, and is on its way to Western Libya. Interestingly this comes just a day after the US issued a statement strongly condemning “illicitly obtained oil from Libya.” We suspect Kim will not be a happy tyrant this evening and also note that the rebels deny the vessel is under government control.
North Korea is trying…
The US is concerned its losing its grip on USD-priced oil…
Illicitly Obtained Oil from Libya
The United States is deeply concerned by reports that a vessel sailing under the name Morning Glory is loading a cargo of illicitly obtained oil at the Libyan port of As-Sidra. This action is counter to law and amounts to theft from the Libyan people. The oil belongs to the Libyan National Oil Company and its joint venture partners. These partners include U.S. companies in the Waha consortium.
Any oil sales without authorization from these parties places purchasers at risk of exposure to civil liability, penalties and other possible sanctions in multiple jurisdictions.
And the Libyan Navy is clamping down…
Libyan government forces on Monday seized a tanker that had loaded crude at a port under the control of rebels who plan to sell oil independently of the Tripoli government, state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) said.
The North Korea-flagged shipped was being escorted to western Libya, NOC spokesman Mohammed El-Harari told Reuters, confirming Libyan media reports.
Lawmaker Abdelwahab al-Qaim told Reuters: “The ship has been seized by government forces. There are no damages to the ship.”
A rebel spokesman had earlier denied they had lost control of the ship.
Yet another red line for Obama to draw…
“The government should now actively seek a solution” with rebels in the self-proclaimed eastern region of Barqa, Asma Sraibah, a member of parliament, said yesterday in a telephone interview in the capital city. “It would be a disaster if the government loses its main source of revenue.”
The head of Libya’s General National Congress ordered the creation of a military force to “liberate the oil ports,” congress spokesman Omar Homaidan was cited by state-run LANA news agency as saying today. The mission will begin within a week from March 8, the day the order was issued, according to LANA.
Crude loading from Es Sider “would be significant for the oil market if it becomes regular,” Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai, said yesterday in a phone interview. The eastern government’s goal “is to make this regular, but it will be very difficult as Tripoli will try to interrupt the flow.”
The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
Has all that money gone to stimulate the economy?
Central banks have been engaged in the the “greatest backdoor bailout of all time.”
And yet – as Bloomberg notes – everyone else gets austerity:
Concerned that high debt loads would cause international investors to avoid their markets, many nations resorted to austerity measures of reduced spending and increased taxes, reining in their economies in the process as they tried to restore the fiscal order they abandoned to fight the worldwide recession.
In essence, the elite financial players are manipulating the game so that they get the stimulus … and the little guy gets the austerity.
Indeed, the IMF is recommending “financial repression” of the average person, to plug the giant debt holes created by the bank bailouts.
And – whether or not you like Keynesian stimulus (most ZH readers don’t!) – you should know that governments never really engaged in meaningful stimulus.
But didn’t we have to do this to save the economy after Lehman crashed?
Nope … top economists say we should instead of done what Iceland did: let the big banks go bust, and use resources instead to help the people.
Proof can be found in the fact that throwing money at the big banks has led to a “jobless recovery” – a permanent destruction of jobs – which is a redistribution of wealth from the little guy to the big boys. (And see this.)
Postscript: In 2010, economics professor and former Senior Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers Laurence Kotlikoff said that – when unfunded liabilities are taken into account – the fiscal gap for the U.S. alone exceeds $200 trillion:
Based on the CBO’s [Congressional Budget Office's] data, I calculate a fiscal gap of $202 trillion, which is more than 15 times the official debt.
As of a couple of months ago, Kotlikoff put the figure at $205 trillion.
Submitted by Howard Kunstler of Kunstler.com,
And so it’s back to the Kardashians for the US of ADD. As of Sunday The New York Times kicked Ukraine off its front page, a sure sign that the establishment (let’s revive that useful word) is sensitive to the growing ridicule over its claims of national interest in that floundering, bedraggled crypto-nation. The Kardashians sound enough like one of the central Asian ethnic groups battling over the Crimea lo these many centuries — Circassians, Meskhetian Turkmen, Tatars, Karachay-Cherkessians — so the sore-beset American public must be content that they’re getting the news-of-the-world. Perhaps one of those groups was once led by a Great Kanye.
Secretary of State John Kerry has shut his pie-hole, too, for the moment, as it becomes more obvious that Ukraine happens to be Russia’s headache (and neighbor). The playbook of great nations is going obsolete in this new era of great nations having, by necessity, to become smaller broken-up nations. It could easily happen in the USA too as our grandiose Deep State descends further into incompetence, irrelevance, buffoonery, and practical bankruptcy.
Theories abound about what drives this crisis and all the credible stories revolve around the question of natural gas. I go a little further, actually, and say that the specter of declining energy sources worldwide is behind this particular eruption of disorder in one sad corner of the globe and that we’re sure to see more symptoms of that same basic problem in one country after another from here on, moving from the political margins to the centers. The world is out of cheap oil and gas and, at the same time, out of capital to produce the non-cheap oil and gas. So what’s going on is a scramble between desperate producers and populations worried about shivering in the dark. The Ukraine is just a threadbare carpet-runner between them.
Contributing to our own country’s excessive vanity in the arena of nations is the mistaken belief that we have so much shale gas of our own that we barely know what to do with it. This is certainly the view, for instance, of Speaker of the House John Boehner, who complained last week about bureaucratic barriers to the building of new natural gas export terminals, with the idea that we could easily take over the European gas market from Russia. Boehner is out of his mind. Does he not know that the early big American shale gas plays (Barnett in Texas, Haynesville in Louisiana, Fayettville in Arkansas) are already winding down after just ten years of production? That’s on top of the growing austerity in available capital for the so-far-unprofitable shale gas industry. That’s on top of the scarcity of capital for building new liquid natural gas terminals and ditto the fleet of specialized refrigerated tanker ships required to haul the stuff across the ocean. File under “not going to happen.”
Even the idea that we will have enough natural gas for our own needs in the USA beyond the short term ought to be viewed with skepticism. What happens, for instance, when we finally realize that it costs more to frack it out of the ground than people can pay for it? I’ll tell you exactly what will happen: the gas will remain underground bound up in its “tight rock,” possibly forever, and a lot of Americans will freeze to death.
The most amazing part of the current story is that US political leaders are so ignorant of the facts. They apparently look only to the public relations officers in the oil-and-gas industries and no further. Does Barack Obama still believe, as he said in 2011, that “we have a hundred years of shale gas?” That was just something that a flack from the Chesapeake Corporation told to some White House aide over a bottle of Lalou Bize-Leroy Domaine d’Auvenay Les Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. Government officials believe similar fairy tales about shale oil from the Bakken in North Dakota — a way overhyped resource play likely to pass its own peak at the end of this year.
If you travel around the upper Hudson Valley, north of Albany, where I live, you would see towns and landscapes every bit as desolate as a former Soviet republic. In fact, our towns look infinitely worse than the street-views of Ukraine’s population centers. Ours were built of glue and vinyl, with most of the work completed thirty years ago so that it’s all delaminating under a yellow-gray patina of auto emissions. Inside these miserable structures, American citizens with no prospects and no hope huddle around electric space heaters. They have no idea how they’re going to pay the bill for that come April. They already spent the money on tattoos and heroin.
You really can’t make this stuff up:
Did Charlie blow a fuse? Because he just said that the Fed will hold rates low, wants long-term rates low, but also wants to let the markets work, and wants inflation to raise long-term rates… Forward-guidance just lost another few points of credibility.
Some questions here:
Whether or not institutional investors, read large speculators, decided to invest alongside Putin in the one trade that is most critical to the future prosperity and positive cash flow balance of Russia, namely keeping the price of Crude high, and rising, is unknown, however, as the following chart the net position in crude oil futures as of the week of March 4, just hit an all time high of $44.0 billion up from $42.4 billion the week prior, surpassing all prior peaks, and certainly any set during the summer of 2008 when oil was threatening to make a run on $150, and was set to hit $200 if one believes Goldman (which nobody does).
Needless to say, any de-escalation in the Crimea – which has certainly been the key catalyst for the full court press to bet on rising crude prices in recent weeks – will have a substantial knock on effect of forcing open call positions to close, and in the process lower the price of crude further beyond just fundamentals, assuming those still exist.
Does the Federal Reserve have another rabbit to pull out of the hat?
TACTICAL – BETA is 100% FREE….get some NOW!!
Several weeks back, we noted that the “smart money” was bearish on the markets, and that higher equity prices would see even more selling extremes amongst corporate insiders. As we look at the data this week, this is exactly what has happened as the “smart money” indicator is at its most extreme degree of selling since November, 2010. See figure 1 below.
So is the “smart money” really that bad? Looking at figure 3, we have highlighted the extremes in selling by the “smart money” since November, 2010. Despite the two misses as outlined above (and these were big misses), the “smart money” indicator has done a decent job at identifying intermediate term tops. The common denominator as to why the “smart money” indicator has failed is quantitative easing or perceived market intervention (i.e., jawboning) by the Federal Reserve. So this begs the question: Does the Federal Reserve have the ability to pull another rabbit out of the hat?
The “Dumb Money” indicator (see figure 5) looks for extremes in the data from 4 different groups of investors who historically have been wrong on the market: 1) Investors Intelligence; 2) MarketVane; 3) American Association of Individual Investors; and 4) the put call ratio. The indicator shows that investors are NEUTRAL.
TACTICAL – BETA is 100% FREE….get some NOW!!
A State of Mind
Being Sovereign within Your Inner Space
The Sovereignty Series
The first installment of “The Sovereignty Series – You Can’t Make Me” may be found here.
As I begin to openly discuss the concept of personal sovereignty I am discovering, as I often do with terms and concepts preloaded with divergent meaning and political overtones, that there are plenty of opinions but not much clear thinking, about personal sovereignty. Please note the bold emphasis placed squarely on the word ‘personal’.
There are those who claim there is no such thing as ‘personal’ sovereignty, that the proper term should be personal empowerment. And it is clear that most widely accepted definitions of ‘sovereignty’ would agree with that premise because they often refer to ‘government’ or ‘an independent state’ in conjunction with ‘sovereignty’. Here are some examples of online dictionary definitions that tend to agree with this ‘belief’.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines sov·er·eign·ty as………
1. Supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign or sovereign state.
2. Royal rank, authority, or power.
3. Complete independence and self-government.
4. A territory existing as an independent state.
Random House chimes in with….
1. the quality or state of being sovereign.
2. the status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign; royalty.
3. supreme and independent power or authority in a state.
4. rightful status, independence, or prerogative.
5. a sovereign state, community, or political unit.
I could go on, but it is plain to see the general ‘consensus’ is that ‘sovereignty’ is the near exclusive domain of kings, dictators, governmental ‘states’ and political entities who claim independence and self rule. Of course, by this definition, if ‘sovereignty’ is not recognized or affirmed by others, particularly much larger and more powerful ‘others’, then sovereignty even on the state level ain’t worth a hill of beans.
Thus sovereignty is defined and codified in International Law, the rules by which those who are admitted to the Big Boys Club play nice with each other (at least as ‘nice’ as psychopaths can) in pretty much the same manner different organized crime ‘families’ have a code of conduct by which they attempt to coexist while ruling their respective corners of the universe.
Then there is the ‘Personal Sovereignty’ movement (for lack of a better term) that purports to anyone who will listen that the US is not a country, but in fact a corporation, and we citizens are simply individually numbered taxpaying cogs (semi ‘free’ indentured servants/slaves other say) mentally, physically and emotionally entangled and encumbered by Admiralty Law, everyday ‘law’ entirely contrary to old English common law, licensing, taxation in a thousand forms both hidden and in plain view and, perhaps most frighteningly, unaccountable administrative bureaucrats.
Actually I am not unsympathetic to the ‘Personal Sovereignty’ efforts in the least. There is much that I agree with when it comes to this line of reasoning. After all, ‘rules’ and ‘law’ exist simply to condition the mind so that the body may follow. They are a control mechanism that is disguised as reasonable, even beneficial, to those who are being controlled. My quibble with this movement is in the declaration and execution of personal sovereignty well before the individual mindset has been fully formed and embodied.
One thing seems clear to me. The ‘belief’ in what constitutes sovereignty is skewed towards those who presently hold power and away from those who supposedly empower the powerful. While it might seem contrary for the powerful (aka the powers that be) to enable and support others who presently hold power since they might just be rivals one day, this supposition only holds water if we believe the interests of the powerful aren’t aligned.
Because sovereignty on a ‘national’ or ‘country’ scale only works if other sovereign nations recognize each others’ sovereignty, it’s actually a giant case of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. A little more to the right please.
My question is simple enough. If power, legitimacy, the ‘right’ to rule, whatever it is called and however it is justified, all flows from the people to the top as it is claimed in modern sovereignty theory, supposedly via the ‘democratic’ process of ‘free’ elections, thus the ‘sovereigns’ declaring themselves a representative of the people, or in the case of despots, abject terror that your head will be removed if you don’t support the ‘sovereign’, then what ‘power’ exactly is actually creating the claimed sovereignty?
Is it my implied consent, which is supposedly captured by the act of my ‘voting’? What if I don’t vote or I voted for the other guy? Might it be my tax dollars, which I wouldn’t actually pay if I didn’t agree with my leadership? Most likely not since my taxes are collected at the point of an implied gun with no choice on my part required. How about my adoration supplied on bent knee, which is compelled of me at the end of a despot’s gun? What exactly of mine and yours is actually being transferred to support the sovereign, to legitimize its use of power in my name?
This is where it all gets a little fuzzy in the more detailed articles, explanations and dissertations about ‘sovereign’ and ‘sovereignty’ that I’ve perused online. It almost seems like black magic is employed, where spells are cast by witching cabals that are designed to corral the very essence of our inner energy, and then redirects it towards those special entities entitled to rule the roost and wear the crown.
OK, enough sarcasm from me. But the last paragraph is not as farfetched as it may seem or sound. We are all susceptible to, and influenced by, ritualistic behavior of all sorts, so to rule out ‘black magic’ in any way, shape or form might be just as silly as it would be for others to even consider it. Considering all the influences exerted upon ‘us’ humans, including subliminal programming, propaganda, advertising, the money meme, nationalism, herd behavior and so on, it is not as farfetched as it may seem to at least consider if we can just get past our preconceived notions and prejudices.
I bring that up simply to press home a point. The general consensus among those who claim sovereignty, the popular belief among those who are ruled, and certainly widely disseminated definitions and descriptions all point to sovereignty being predominately a physical attribute held by a political entity that may or may not be derived from those who live within the boundaries of that political entity or ‘state’.
In my first installment of “The Sovereignty Series – You Can’t Make Me!” I discussed how one of the ways ‘we’, ultimately meaning our personal sovereignty, are hijacked is through our language, and that we enable this hijacking by self victimization via the words, phrases and altered meanings of our language. We only have ourselves to blame for playing their game on their field by their rules.
In that article I left a comment that stated plainly and frankly my view regarding personal sovereignty and where it all begins. I said, “Personal sovereignty is a ‘State’ of Mind long before it is a state of being.” Too often we think of personal defense via weapons, financial flexibility and independence by way of diversified asset stashes and physical precious metals or even physical isolation in the form of a self sufficient homestead tens, even hundreds, of miles from ‘civilization’ as required ingredients that ‘create’ or endow personal sovereignty.
There is no doubt that any and all of those attributes will go a long way towards our ability to secure our physical being. And just like the political ‘state’ whose sovereignty isn’t recognized by more powerful ‘others’, if you or I are denied our physical/financial freedom it is extremely difficult to assert our physical personal sovereignty with any semblance of credibility. Thus I will not argue that it isn’t highly desirable to acquire the tools that enable our physical/financial freedom and flexibility.
But our “State of Mind” makes all the difference regardless of our personal war chest, isolation, financial assets or lack thereof. If our mind and spirit are still shackled by the ‘slave’ state of mind, the day to day practice of personal sovereignty is for all intents and purposes completely foreign to us and entirely beyond our grasp.
While I will dig deeper into the various “State of Mind” attributes of a individual sovereign in later chapters of “The Sovereignty Series”, of paramount importance to creating this mindset is to begin taking personal responsibility for all our thoughts, actions and interactions regardless of whether we feel we are ‘in control’ of the underlying circumstances or not.
If we are to declare that we are sovereign, then ultimately the ‘buck’ starts and stops here. Being sovereign implies that we answer to no one, though it is obvious that one person surround by one thousand hostiles is severely constrained. But true personal sovereignty is constrained only of the physical being, while the “State of Mind” can only be constrained by us.
While Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela (to name just two) were physically incarcerated for years, decades in Mandela’s case, these individuals practiced personal sovereignty by continuing to think and ‘be’ sovereign, both in mind and spirit. Based upon their public writings they accepted full responsibility for their ‘constrained’ situation, and worked tirelessly while in prison to build upon and expand their efforts to help free the minds of others they had encouraged to be sovereign.
While ‘sovereignty’ is often conflated with a political entity within physical boundaries, oftentimes because such a ‘sovereign’ has a greater ability to exercise physical cohesion and mount defensive positions, personal sovereignty, while not affording each of us an equal opportunity to exercise physical security, offers us much greater prospect of implementing the personally sovereign “State of Mind”.
www.TwoIceFloes.com is unlike anything you will find on the web, a truly unique destination. There you will find distinctive Premium Members only articles as well as discussions on wellness and health, homesteading, spirituality & philosophy and most importantly ‘safe’ forums not found anywhere else. Come by for a peek and stay a while.
Mere days ahead of Crimea’s referendum to join Russia (or not) and following reports of shots fired between Russian and Ukrainian forces, the Ukraine Defense Ministry reports (via Facebook):
Lt. Colonel Sadovnyk is the officer reported as ‘kidnapped’ yesterday in Bakhchisarai. It would appear Crimea is annexing itself as this comes just one week after the head of Ukraine’s Navy defected.
The commander of a Ukrainian military unit, Lieutenant Colonel Volodymyr Sadovnyk, was kidnapped in Bakhchisarai on Sunday.
This was stated by the chief of staff of the military unit, Lieutenant Colonel Serhiy Hunder, according to Ukrainian media.
“It happened in Bakhchisarai, Sadovnyk returned from lunch…
As of Monday morning, he contacted his wife between 07.00 and 08.00. He said that everything was fine with him, but he was kept in an unknown location. No demands were put forward,” Hunder said, adding that the military are doing their best to search for the commander.
Ukrainian Lt. Colonel Volodymyr Sadovnyk, who was missing earlier today, comes back to his motorized battalion in Crimea’s town of Bakhchisaray to announce he’s defected, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman for Crimea Vladislav Seleznev says.
Seleznev comments on Facebook
Defecting officer Sadovnyk was accompanied by armed men from self-proclaimed Crimean self defense, who fired shot in air and stormed battalion: statement
Sadovnyk asks those who don’t want to defect to leave battalion; Russian flag was raised: statement
European sovereign bond spreads have not batted an eyelid during the recent Russia-Ukraine crisis… and why should they, Draghi will do “whatever it takes.” Even HY credit in Europe is holding up – despite an ugly squeeze wider on Friday (chatter that positioning in very long credit). But with Europe’s VIX above 20, the broad European stock index is now below pre-Putin levels. What is perhaps most stunning is that while investors have piled out of German, Swiss, and French stocks in the last few days, they have backed-up-the-truck in “new normal” safe-haven Portugal. The reason proferred by some – Portugal is further from Ukraine (and less dependent on Russia’s gas) – which of course is the critical swing factor for an economy that remains crushed aside from trade with Germany.
Stocks are back below Putin levels…
As investors have flushed their core German stock holdings and bid Portugal (and Italy) to the moon…
Which just exacerbates the remarkable divergence among European stocks this year…
We are sure somewhere this all makes sense…It would appear the ‘safe-haven’ seekers have forgotten that if Germany comes under pressure from Russian sanction retaliation then Europe is in trouble… but hey, why worry, just buy the worst…
Well, dood, since it wasn’t an NSA op, very likely he couldn’t access the files on it, duuuuuh!!!!
But obvious to the rest of us (with functioning neurons), one of the three business entities which profited directly from it, the Blackstone Group, is today America’s number one landlord.
What a coincidency, huh? (The other two were AIG and Veritas Capital.)
Speaking of coincidences . . . .
Isn’t it interesting that we find Jonas Bonnier, head of Bonnier AB, attending the 2012 Bilderberger meeting, during the time frame when the Bonnier family is aiding and abetting governmental forces (both USA and Sweden) in going after WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, just as in 2013, after the suicide of Aaron Swartz, we find his acting attorney and mentor, Lawrence Lessig, attending the Bilderberger meeting in Switzerland, along with senior executives from Palantir Technology and Stratfor?
So, Jonas Bonnier, of one of the top ten media companies, Bonnier AB, whose family has successfuly aided and abetted the containing of Julian Assange (being forced to hole up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London crimps anyone’s style) and Lawrence Lessig successfully contains Aaron Swartz (nothing more containing than a suicide) and both appear next at those Bilderberger meetings. Such is life?
Too many have forgotten the details surrounding the operation against Assange, so the three links below (especially the report by Nordic News Network) should explain things considerably.
Virtually everyone who went after and targeted Assange, including those so-called media members, were directly connected to the Bonnier family, one of the ten top media groups on the planet, and the Rupert Murdoch-type family of Sweden. (The one exception was Sofia Wilen, the younger of the two women who originally went to the police. She later pulled out and expressed regret about the entire situation; she had been coerced into becoming involved by the older of the two women, Anna Ardin (one of her several aliases, who was involved in various conservative religious organizations and formerly once worked with Swedish military intelligence). Both the two attorneys are connected to the Bonnier family, one whose sister works for one of their companies, and the other (formerly Minister of Justice at the time when the CIA illegally “extreme renditioned” several Arab-Swedes, later to be found innocent by the Swedish courts, and financially remunerated for the crimes against them) publishes his novels through one of their companies.
Anna Ardin also was (and may still be) an employee of one of the Bonnier publications.
Assange was first approached by representatives of a Bonnier tabloid for exclusive publication rights, but he declined.