The world’s debt burden stands at a staggering 317 per cent of global gross domestic product, just shy of its all-time high in 2016, according to the Institute of International Finance. Years of low and negative interest rates have fed the debt habit: since the 2008 financial crisis, the world has added an extraordinary $70tn in debt, or 25 per cent of GDP, with sovereign debt accounting for nearly 40 per cent of that increase.
“To be clear: responsibly incurred debt can play an important and constructive role in economic development. Long-term investments that enhance productivity can foster a more prosperous future. Amid subdued growth in many parts of the world and a critical need for infrastructure, there are arguments to be made in support of using debt to foster growth.
“But too much debt is a risk for lenders and borrowers alike, as history has shown time and again.”
(“We need transparency to keep countries out of a debt spiral,” Axel Weber, Financial Times, 6/18)
Europe has been warned. Any use of monetary levers to hold down the euro exchange rate will be deemed a provocation by the Trump administration.
Further cuts in interest rates to minus 0.5pc or beyond will be scrutinized for currency manipulation. A revival of quantitative easing will be considered a devaluation policy in disguise, as indeed it is, since the money leaks out into global securities and depresses the euro.
The Bank for International Settlements says €300bn of Europe’s QE funding reached London alone between 2014 and 2017.
If the ECB copies the Swiss National Bank and starts to amass foreign assets directly to cap currency strength Europe will face certain retaliation.
(“Currency war is the next phase of global conflict and Europe, the chief parasite, is defenceless,” Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph, June 19th)
Donald Trump’s found someone else in Europe he doesn’t like. The US president launched a Twitter tirade against Mario Draghi after the ECB president said he was ready to inject new stimulus into the eurozone, sending the euro tumbling against the dollar. (Brussels Briefing, Financial Times, 6/1)
“President Donald Trump cannot want war with Iran. Such a war, no matter how long, would be fought in and around the Persian Gulf, through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil travels. It could trigger a worldwide recession and imperil Trump’s re-election. It would widen the “forever war,” which Trump said he would end, to a nation of 80 million people, three times as large as Iraq. It would become the defining issue of his presidency, as the Iraq War became the defining issue of George W. Bush’s presidency. And if war comes now, it would be known as “Trump’s War.”
“Who wants a U.S. war with Iran? Primarily the same people who goaded us into wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and who oppose every effort of Trump’s to extricate us from those wars. Should they succeed in Iran, it is hard to see how we will ever be able to extricate our country from this blood-soaked region that holds no vital strategic interest save oil, and America, thanks to fracking, has become independent of that.” (“War with Iran would become “Trump’s War,” Pat Buchanan, 6/18)
Iran shoots down US drone aircraft
Oil prices jump after action by Revolutionary Guard escalates tensions between Tehran and Washington (Financial Times, 6/20)
“Iran shoots down US military drone to send “clear message” to Trump” (Independent, 6/20)
GERMAN POLITICIAN ASSASSINATED BY NEO-NAZI
Germany’s federal prosecutors have taken over the investigation into the murder of Walter Lübcke, indicating that the killing of the Kassel district president on June 2 is being treated as a politically motivated terrorist act.
If indeed the murder is shown to have been politically motivated, it would be the first such assassination on a sitting German politician since the 1970s.
Trail included death threats, weapons.
A number of German outlets have reported details of the alleged far-right ties of the suspect arrested in the central city of Kassel in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday that the 45-year-old man, named only as Stephan E., had a long criminal record, had already issued death threats via his YouTube channel, and that weapons were found during the search of his home.
According to the paper, Stephan E. had written a comment on YouTube in 2018 under his alias ‘Game Over’ that read, “Either this government abdicates soon or there will be deaths.” ( “Walter Lubcke murder raises specter of neo-Nazi terrorism,” Deutsche Welle news)
“Xenophobia stokes extreme-right activism
Puls has also noticed that neo-Nazis became more and more vocal in the last few years, following the influx of refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015 and 2016, which led to more anti-immigrant sentiment in the mainstream political debate and hate speech on social media.
As a supporter of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy, Walter Lübke himself was on the sharp end of much of this.
“One can certainly say that the propensity for violence has certainly risen following the right-wing debates around immigration,” he said. “The case of Lübcke is certainly very revealing here. Walter Lübcke faced an enormous amount of hatred in 2015. That does raise the question: how much does it take before one person says ‘I’ll reach for a weapon?’ In certain circumstances, not much.”
( “Walter Lubcke murder raises specter of neo-Nazi terrorism,” Deutsche Welle news)
Stand up to far right, Germany’s Angela Merkel tells Europe
The resignation of Austria’s vice chancellor led German politicians to warn against alliances with populists. Chancellor Merkel spoke out against right-wing populism as many are now demanding new Austrian elections. (DW)
NEO-NAZIS IN AMERICA
The definition of a neo-Nazi is someone who belongs to an organization that is similar to the German Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler.
“Frontline” (PBS) this week showed the growth of neo-Nazis across America. It showed synagogues that are now doing everything they can to prepare for further mass shootings.
It also interviewed members of neo-Nazi groups and showed a perverse link with the current Administration. “To make America great again, you would have to make America white again”, is a direct quote from a leader of the neo-Nazi movement, the Waffen.
“FRONTLINE and ProPublica continue reporting on the resurgence of white supremacist groups in the United States. “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis” investigates a violent neo-Nazi group that has actively recruited inside the U.S. military, and examines the group’s terrorist objectives.” (Frontline).
Overlooked here is the major contribution made by liberals, in the growth of Nazism. The massive influx of immigrants since 1965 has led directly to anti-immigrant feeling. The 2008 financial crisis contributed greatly to anti-semitism.
ZUCKERBERG LAUNCHES NEW CURRENCY
“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has [a]the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev 13:16-17)
“Zuckerberg’s $538 billion social network on Tuesday announced plans to create a new digital currency and financial system that it claims will revolutionize banking. Facebook announced the new currency, called Libra, in a 12-page white paper that promised vast improvements on bitcoin and other volatile digital coins.” (New York Post, 6/18)
THE DARK SIDE OF ZUCKERBERG’S POWERFUL NEW CRYPTO COIN
“In its quest for world domination, Facebook has already disrupted everything from the media industry to American democracy, drawing scrutiny for things like its pitiful handling of user data, its monopolistic tendencies, and a “digital gangster” mentality along the way. Now, as regulators in Washington, D.C., bear down on Facebook, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has acquired a new target: the global financial system.
“On Tuesday, Facebook announced plans to debut Libra, a cryptocurrency it has been developing for more than a year. Described by the company as “a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that can empower billions of people,” Libra will partner Facebook with Mastercard, Visa, Uber, and an array of other high-profile companies in what the New York Times called “the most far-reaching attempt by a mainstream company to jump into the world of cryptocurrencies.”
“David Marcus, who is leading Facebook’s blockchain technology research, is stoked. “It feels like it is time for a better system,” Marcus told The Times. “This is something that could be a profound change for the entire world.” Even Zuckerberg, who has spent much of the last two years on a sort of apology tour, sounds like he’s regained his change-the-world mojo. “Being able to use mobile money can have an important positive impact on people’s lives because you don’t have to always carry cash, which can be insecure, or pay extra fees for transfers,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “We aspire to make it easy for everyone to send and receive money just like you use our apps to instantly share messages and photos.” (Eric Lutz, Vanity Fair, 6/18)
THREAT TO US FOOD SUPPLY
“US beekeepers lost 40% of colonies over past year” – The Guardian 6/19