The Dow Surging towards financial disaster

The 17,000 Dow Jones: Surging Towards a Financial Disaster (Source globalresearch.ca) The rise of Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average to an all-time high above 17,000 last week is another sign of the explosive contradictions building up within the American and global financial system. Since hitting its low point of 6,547 on March 9, 2009 following the financial crash of September 2008, the Dow has climbed by more than 10,000 points, and is now over 250 percent what it was barely five years ago. At the same time, following the official recession of December 2007 to June 2009, US gross domestic product has experienced its worst “recovery” of any comparable period since World War II, with output falling by almost 3 percent in the first quarter of this year. Investment in the real economy remains stagnant as corporations pile up cash rather than expand productive activity, and use the money to fund share buy-back operations, mergers and acquisitions and other, essentially parasitic, financial operations. Even though it is still experiencing growth rates of around 7.5 percent, China is widely regarded as being highly vulnerable to the bursting of the financial bubble created by the massive expansion of credit following 2008. It is estimated that in the past six years, credit has increased by an amount equivalent to the finances of the entire US banking system. And yet, amid this worsening situation, US and global stock markets, fuelled by the injection of ultra-cheap money from the major central banks, keep powering upwards. This process cannot continue indefinitely. The endless accumulation of wealth, as money seemingly miraculously transforms itself into even greater amounts of money, is inherently unsustainable. The entire financial system resembles a kind of inverted pyramid in which massive financial wealth rests upon a narrowing real economic base, making the whole system extremely vulnerable to even a small disturbance.

Russia attacks U.S. oil and gas companies

Russia attacks U.S. oil and gas companies in massive hack (Source CNN Money) The Cold War didn’t end in the 1990’s. It simply moved online. That much is clear after a security firm reported this week that Russian hackers have launched unprecedented, highly-sophisticated attacks on Western oil and gas companies. The cyber operation nicknamed Energetic Bear is the latest example of an ongoing battle between all-seeing American and British cyber spies on one side — and intellectual-property-stealing hackers in China and Russia on the other. The report by Symantec (SYMCTech30) described how hackers have sneaked malware into computers at power plants, energy grid operators, gas pipeline companies and industrial equipment makers. Most of the targets were in the United States and Spain. The rest were across Europe. The malware was used to steal documents, usernames and passwords. In the best-case scenario, the hackers only took valuable and sensitive information. At worst, they gained the ability to hijack controls — and even sabotage the nation’s energy supply.

Microsoft to take on “global cybercrime

DANGEROUS RULING: JUDGE LETS MICROSOFT SEIZE & REDIRECT NO-IP DOMAINS WITHOUT NOTICE (Source TECH DIRT) Microsoft posted a somewhat self-congratulatory blog post yesterday about how it was taking on a “global cybercrime epidemic” and effectively targeting systems used by malware. Of course, part of the details were that Microsoft totally misrepresented the nature of No-IP and how dynamic DNS solutions work. No-IP’s parent company, Vitalwerks Solutions, was painted by Microsoft as being something of an accomplice to the malware epidemic, allowing Microsoft to convince a judge to seize a bunch of very popular No-IP domains without any notice or immediate recourse. Microsoft claims that it’s just stopping malware, but the collateral damage from grabbing those domains is immense. According to No-IP: Unfortunately, Microsoft never contacted us or asked us to block any subdomains, even though we have an open line of communication with Microsoft corporate executives. We have been in contact with Microsoft today. They claim that their intent is to only filter out the known bad hostnames in each seized domain, while continuing to allow the good hostnames to resolve. However, this is not happening. Apparently, the Microsoft infrastructure is not able to handle the billions of queries from our customers. Millions of innocent users are experiencing outages to their services because of Microsoft’s attempt to remediate hostnames associated with a few bad actors. AS NO-IP FURTHER NOTES, MICROSOFT COULD HAVE EASILY CONTACTED THEM, AND THE COMPANY WOULD HAVE TAKEN ACTION: Had Microsoft contacted us, we could and would have taken immediate action. Microsoft now claims that it just wants to get us to clean up our act, but its draconian actions have affected millions of innocent Internet users.

China to rule world with Yuan currency

CHINA TO SET YUAN CLEARING BANKS IN LUXEMBOURG, PARIS (Source NASDAQ)

In its continued push to make the yuan a global currency, China’s central bank said Sunday it plans to designate clearing banks for its currency in Paris and Luxembourg, as the two financial centers battle with London to become the leading European offshore yuan-trading city.The People’s Bank of China announced the move in two separate statements Sunday. It didn’t say when it would designate the clearing banks. The French and Luxembourg central banks said Sunday they had signed agreements with PBOC allowing for greater cooperation in the oversight of their domestic yuan market.

The Day the dollar died

The dollar meltdown (Source news24.com) As global “reserve currency” the U.S. dollar forms the backbone of our world’s financial system.  But according to a new research report, the U.S. dollar could lose its status as the world’s reserve currency as a result of the new US legislation, which takes effect on July 1, 2014. The report claims that the new law, U.S. House of Representatives Bill “H.R. 2847”, passed into law by U.S. Congress in 2010, will usher in a potential meltdown of the U.S. dollar. Compiled with input from analysts, the report says that this new law will wreak havoc with local currencies around the world, including the S.A. Rand. It may be the U.S. Government’s biggest blunder which could effectively lead to a collapse of the U.S. Dollar. The New York Post recently reported, “The US dollar is getting perilously close to losing its status as the world’s reserve currency. Should it cross the line, the 2008 financial crisis could look like a summer storm.” As the U.S. dollar gets closer to losing its position as the world’s reserve currency, the impact will be felt worldwide. America contributes 34% to the global economy. Should the U.S. Dollar collapse America’s economy will just about shutdown. Business will at least temporarily grind to a halt. This will directly affect America’s trade partner countries like South Africa. Commodity prices for petrol, oil and other commodities are expected to skyrocket. Almost everything will get dramatically more expensive – clothing, furniture, household goods, food, electronics, televisions, computers and cars.

Russia starts a dollar war on U.S.

Russia Strikes out at Sanctions and Takes its Battle to the Dollar (Source globalresearh.ca) The European Union sees a new deadline on implementing economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis expire today, June 30, 2014. But Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is turning the tables on the United States to spur a global ‘de-dollarisation’, writes Professor Stefan Hedlund. Russia is making a concerted attack on the status of the America’s greenback dollar as a global reserve currency and is in the process of abandoning the ‘petro-dollar’ as its trading unit for oil and gas. Russian energy companies have been told to ditch the dollar and sign contracts in rubles and the currencies of partner-countries. The desire to reduce the use of dollars is in line with China’s aim to promote international use of the Chinese yuan. Other emerging market nations would also like to see reduced American hegemony. An attack by Russia on the US dollar would be devastating and could, in theory, trigger a stock market collapse in the United States. However, the status of the greenback as global reserve currency is not yet under serious threat, for the simple reason that the alternatives are worse. But the Russian attack may prod the global economy to take a further step on the road to a system without a designated reserve currency. If Central Banks across the world were to sell off their holdings of US government bonds, then the US economy would be flooded with dollars, causing the currency to plummet, inflation to spike and interest rates to skyrocket. The consequent rise in the cost of financing government debt would be monstrous, and having to return to fiscal balance would force the closure of so many social spending programmes that there would be rioting in the streets. Russian banking and energy experts have discussed with government officials ways to eliminate the dollar from export operations. Economy minister Alexei Ulyukaev, has called on Russian energy companies to be ‘braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of the partner-countries’. There has been talk of introducing a ‘currency switch executive order’, whereby companies could be compelled to transact a percentage of their operations in, say, Russian rubles or Chinese yuans. Rosneft has concluded a ‘goods-for-oil’ swap with Iran which provides 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell on global markets. And Gazprom’s recent US$400 billion gas deal with China is viewed by both sides as a way of moving away from US dollar domination.