Tin Foil Hats, Economic Reality and the Total Perspective Vortex

You might recall back in April, in post #429 (last page) Goldcore quoted a Bloomberg report stating that global debt had hit $237T. Well, it's only been 3 months or so and it's now being reported at $247T:

– Global debt time bomb surges to nearly a ‘Quarter Quadrillion’ ($250T)
– “The $247 trillion global debt bomb” Washington Post warn
– Debt surges globally and global debt is up almost $150 trillion in just 15 years according to analysis by the Institute of International Finance
– Debt expansion appears to be accelerating and in Q1,2018 alone, global debt surged by another $8 trillion
– After falling marginally in recent years, global debt to GDP increased in Q1, 2018 and global growth is now slowing while global debt increases
– All major countries and every strata of society sees debt surge and massive consumer/ household, business, financial and government
– Important to consider the debt surge in context of GDP and since 2003, as a share of the world economy (GDP), the increase went from below 250% of GDP in 2003 to nearly 320% today
– Quarter Quadrillion in debt does not include massive global pension liabilities and other unfunded liabilities such as the U.S. social security, medicare and medicaid


It's quite possible that the root sources for the two numbers are not the same and they used different methods for tallying the numbers, so they might not be apples to apples to compare them, but I think it's pretty safe to say that the numbers are going up faster than is sustainable over the long term.
From Meursault's link:
Russia backs using national currencies, not the U.S. dollar, in its trade with Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday, but he made no firm commitments that would immediately help Ankara to weather its currency crisis.

Lavrov held talks in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu days after the Turkish lira TRY= plummeted to an all-time low versus the U.S. dollar, while the Russian rouble RUB= lost nearly 10 percent in just several days of August.

Thanks for adding to the thread, Meursault. I've been slacking. US Sanctions against Russia are hitting the Ruble hard right now and it's affecting Russia's neighbors. Kazakhstan has been buying a lot gold over the last few months and they just had a 18.9% devaluation of their currency against the dollar:


I think it's somewhat ironic that the more the US tightens economic sanctions against a country, the faster it accelerates bilateral trade deals bypassing the dollar. It's somewhat counterintuitive, but sanctions are contributing to undermining the dollar in the long term as they encourage countries to work out alternative systems.
Russia stocking up on gold too:

– Russia buys 800k ozs of gold as diversifies reserves from USD
– Russia now has total gold reserves worth just $76 billion; Dumped $90 billion of US Treasuries in April and May
– 25-ton addition brings Russia’s Central Bank holdings to 1,969 tons; the world’s 5th largest gold reserves
– Central bank buying Russian gold on Moscow Exchange for now


It seems like we hear about these things all the time & think it must mean something, but then not much seems to come of it. IDK if it's just a much longer game they are strategizing for (insanely long) or what the hell else is going on. That kind of seems like they are battening down the hatches, which makes me nervous, but again, stuff like that seems to pop up & disappear semi-regularly, so I just don't know what to think anymore. I guess just keep stacking beans, bullets & bullion. :banana:
Well Russia and China have been at this (ie. accumulating gold) for over a decade now. Yeah, I'd say they are playing a long game.
What is the aim of this long game ?

Is it insurance against loss of faith in digits displayed on screens ?

or something else ........

What will it take for this to happen ?
What is the aim of this long game ?

Russia and China have both been pretty open about their end goal being the dismantling of the petrodollar dominating global commerce/finance. What they would like to see replacing it isn't so clear, but the SWIFT system clearing nearly all global commerce through New York banks (and thus the massive stick of US sanctions) is clearly anathema for them.
Oh wow... I'm used to reading these things from the BRICS, but Germany?

Germany's foreign minister has called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the United States as a means of rescuing the nuclear deal between Iran and the west that Donald Trump withdrew from in May.

Writing in the German daily Handelsblatt, Heiko Maas said Europe should not allow the United States to act "over our heads and at our expense."

"For that reason it's essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels that are independent of the U.S., creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent Swift system," he wrote.

Maas' intervention was the "strongest call yet for European Union financial and monetary autonomy vis-a-vis U.S.,” said Thorsten Benner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute, a Berlin-based think-tank. ...

Yeah I saw this.
Putin made him say it (-;

But you dont need gold to create a clearing channel and blockchain tech is being quietly developed by the big banks which will displace a lot of 'middlemen' from future transactions.
Well, since most of the folks/countries that are bitching about the SWIFT/petrodollar/US Sanctions are buying (or now with Germany, actually own a good bit of) gold, I think it's a good bet that whatever successor rises to replace the dollar in global commerce, gold will likely play an important role in backstopping it.
This was from back in late May:
Russia has developed its own system for financial transfers that would protect it from a potential shutout of the SWIFT global transfer system in the event of harsher U.S. sanctions, its central bank governor said Wednesday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
"This system is already operational and it allows, inside Russia, to transfer financial data," she said, calling it an "absolutely similar, competing system" that allows — at least inside Russia — "to nullify such risks."

Financial analysts have their doubts. Timothy Ash, senior emerging markets sovereign strategist at Bluebay Asset Management, described it as "not very credible." It might work for the domestic market and some non-Western markets, he said, but was "not realistic for dealing with Western partners."
The issue, he explained, is that other countries are very unlikely to use Russia's system, particularly as it would be fairly straightforward for the U.S. government to threaten sanctions against this too.

"Of course, it would be far more effective to have an international system on which everyone could rely, which would be distinguished by predictability and an inviolability to the rules and access," Nebiullina said, perhaps in a subtle jab at Washington. ...

TPTB have been playing this game a long time. Bait and switch. Tease and deny. "The boy who cried WOLF" and "Chicken Little" scenario.
You see it all the time. Those who say they fell for the fiction of PMs. They'll say things like "I've been hearing that for X years and I'm tired of waiting."
It's a test of who has the brassiest balls. Weak ones fall by the wayside every day.
They've been spending "OUR" wealth at a pace that would make drunken sailors look like Ebenezer Scrooge and the bill is coming due.
Bullets, butter and bullion. Everything else is just fantasy.
... It's somewhat counterintuitive, but sanctions are contributing to undermining the dollar in the long term as they encourage countries to work out alternative systems.

Sobering summary of much of this thread published by CNBC:

The United States is currently waging economic warfare against one tenth of the world's countries with cumulative population of nearly 2 billion people and combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $15 trillion.

These include Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and others on which Washington has imposed sanctions over the years, but also countries like China, Pakistan and Turkey which are not under full sanctions but rather targets of other punitive economic measures.

In addition, thousands of individuals from scores of countries are included in the Treasury Department's list of Specially Designated Nationals who are effectively blocked from the U.S.-dominated global financial system. Many of those designated are either part of or closely linked to their countries' leadership.

From a U.S. perspective, each one of the economic entities is targeted for a good reason be it human rights violations, terrorism, crime, nuclear trade, corruption or in the case of China, unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft.

But in recent months it seems that America's unwavering commitment to fight all of the world's scourges has brought all those governments and the wealthy individuals who support them to a critical mass, joining forces to create a parallel financial system which would be out of reach of America's long arm. Should they succeed, the impact on America's global posture would be transformational.
This month Russia was quick to recruit Turkey into the anti-dollar bloc, announcing it would back non-dollar trade with it, after a financial feud between Ankara and Washington broke out. China for its part is using its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative as a tool to compel countries to transact in yuan terms instead of dollars. Pakistan, the number one recipient of Belt and Road money, and Iran have already announced their intention to do just that. Last month's BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in Johannesburg was a call to arms against the dollar hegemony with countries like Turkey, Jamaica, Indonesia, Argentina and Egypt invited to join in what is known as "BRICS plus" with the goal of creating a de-dollarized economy.

The main front where the future of the dollar will be decided is the global commodity market, especially the $1.7 trillion oil market. Ever since 1973, when President Richard Nixon unilaterally severed the U.S. dollar from the gold standard and convinced the Saudis and the rest of the OPEC countries to sell their oil only in dollars, the global oil trade has been linked to the American currency. This paved the way for the rest of the commodities to be traded in dollars as well. The arrangement served America well. It created an ever growing demand for the greenback, which in turn enabled consecutive U.S. governments to freely run their growing deficits.

Not anymore. Because so many of the members of the anti-dollar alliance are exporters of commodities they no longer feel that their products should be either priced by a dollar-denominated benchmark like WTI and Brent or be traded in a currency they no longer crave.

For example, when China buys oil from Angola, gas from Russia, coal from Mongolia or soybeans from Brazil it prefers to do so in its own currency and thereby avoid unwanted exchange rate fees on both sides of the transaction. This is already beginning to happen.

Russia and China have agreed to transact some of their traded energy in yuan. China is pushing its main oil suppliers Saudi Arabia, Angola and Iran to receive yuans for their oil. And last year China introduced gold-backed futures contracts, dubbed "petro-yuan" in the Shanghai International Energy Exchange - the first non-dollar crude benchmark in Asia.
In the midst of America's economic euphoria it is worth remembering that one of every four people on the planet lives today in a country whose government is committed to end the dollar hegemony. Thwarting their effort should be Washington's top national priority.

More: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/27/the...-and-sooner-than-most-economists-predict.html
Looks like Germany was serious. (/when are they not? /joke)

Germany and France said they’re working on financing solutions to sidestep U.S. sanctions against countries such as Iran, including a possible role for central banks.

The discussions, which also involve the U.K., are a signal that European powers are trying to get serious about demonstrating a greater level of independence from the U.S. as President Donald Trump pursues his “America First” agenda.

“With Germany, we are determined to work on an independent European or Franco-German financing tool which would allow us to avoid being the collateral victims of U.S. extra-territorial sanctions,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday during a meeting with press association AJEF. “I want Europe to be a sovereign continent not a vassal, and that means having totally independent financing instruments that do not today exist.”
“We have to react and strengthen Europe’s autonomy and sovereignty in trade, economic and finance policy,” Maas said in a speech in Berlin. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland also spoke at the event and said that her nation shares the goal of preserving a multilateral world order.

Le Maire is due to meet German counterpart Olaf Scholz in Paris on Wednesday.

Echo, echo, echo...

... Congress is again pushing to exclude Iran from SWIFT as part of a sanctions program.

The difficulty this time is that our European allies are not on board and are seeking ways to keep the nuclear deal alive and work around U.S. sanctions.

Europe’s solution is to therefore create new nondollar payment channels.

In the short run, the U.S. is likely to enforce its sanctions rigorously. European businesses will probably go along with the U.S. because they don’t want to lose business in the U.S. itself or be banned from the U.S. dollar payments system.

But in the longer run, this is just one more development pushing the world at large away from dollars and toward alternatives of all kinds, including new payment systems and cryptocurrencies.

It’s also one more sign that dollar dominance in global finance may end sooner than most expect. We are getting dangerously close to that point right now.

Bank of International Settlements (BIS)

So the BIS says "dangerous things" from time to time. A few years ago, they admitted that gold is currency even though the recommendations for the Basel III rules were eventually neutered.

Just recently, the BIS has published a couple of items that have pinged my news radar:
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), just recently warned of the dire impact that is certain if any hawkish maneuvers by Powell, our newest genius at the Chair of the Federal Reserve.

Carstens, a former central banker, commented in the recent BIS report that the US dollar makes up at least 80% of all the letters of credit outstanding, which are the means of settlement of international trade contracts. Think about 80% of all trade contracts.

He went on to explain this subject’s danger without any question or doubt. He said, “Any dollar shortage among non-US banks could cripple international trade.” That is the Richard Russel’s Synthetic Dollar Short.”

Since the Synthetic Dollar Shortage that now exists is an enormous size, the Federal Reserve cannot act to reset the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, nor can they drain reserves by any means whatsoever. Doing so would bring on a great economic/currency calamity without historical precedent. What is timing of when this might occur? We have told you it is “NOW.”


Now The Guardian is reporting:
Back in the 1930s, Henry Ford is supposed to have remarked that it was a good thing that most Americans didn't know how banking really works, because if they did, "there'd be a revolution before tomorrow morning".

Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy", co-authored by three economists from the Bank's Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. ...

... What the Bank of England admitted this week is that none of this is really true. To quote from its own initial summary: "Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits" … "In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money 'multiplied up' into more loans and deposits."

In other words, everything we know is not just wrong – it's backwards. When banks make loans, they create money. This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognise as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. There's really no limit on how much banks could create, provided they can find someone willing to borrow it. They will never get caught short, for the simple reason that borrowers do not, generally speaking, take the cash and put it under their mattresses; ultimately, any money a bank loans out will just end up back in some bank again. So for the banking system as a whole, every loan just becomes another deposit. What's more, insofar as banks do need to acquire funds from the central bank, they can borrow as much as they like; all the latter really does is set the rate of interest, the cost of money, not its quantity. Since the beginning of the recession, the US and British central banks have reduced that cost to almost nothing. In fact, with "quantitative easing" they've been effectively pumping as much money as they can into the banks, without producing any inflationary effects.

What this means is that the real limit on the amount of money in circulation is not how much the central bank is willing to lend, but how much government, firms, and ordinary citizens, are willing to borrow. Government spending is the main driver in all this (and the paper does admit, if you read it carefully, that the central bank does fund the government after all) ...

Uh oh...

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has bought gold for the first time in nearly a decade, signalling that the metal could be in demand as a store of value when returns and capital values of fixed-income bonds are declining in a rising rate environment.

The RBI added 8.46 metric tonnes of gold to its stock of holdings during the financial year 2017-18 that ended June 30, taking the level of gold reserves to 566.23 metric tonnes, according to its latest annual report.
Economists reckon that investing in gold is a prudent treasury move by the central bank at a time of rising yields. RBI has already sold close to $10 billion worth US treasury securities between April and June, data with the US treasury department suggest.


Is it really just a "prudent treasury move" or something more...

Reuters reports India allows state refiners to use Iran tankers, insurance for oil imports.


How is India paying Iran for the oil?
Piggybacking on the BIS warning about Fed interest rate policy on emerging markets, Largarde/IMF are warning about the USA/China trade war:
The intensifying trade war between China and the United States could "shock" emerging markets that are already in danger, the head of the International Monetary Fund said in an interview published Tuesday.

As a result, crises in Turkey and Argentina could spread, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told the Financial Times.
If the world's largest two economies continue on this course, it could have a "measurable impact on growth in China" and could "trigger vulnerabilities" in neighboring Asian economies whose supply chains are closely linked to Chinese industry, Lagarde told the newspaper.

Some emerging economies find themselves in precarious situations, with currencies weakening in part due to the strong US dollar and investors looking instead to the United States, where benchmark lending rates are steadily rising.

Weakening emerging market currencies could also affect eurozone exporters such as Germany and Spain.

Jean-Claude Juncker has vowed to turn the euro into a global reserve currency that could rival the dollar as part of the European Union's drive to reduce its financial dependence on the United States.

In his last "State of the Union" speech to members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg today, the president of the European Commission said it was an "aberration" that the EU paid for more than 80 percent of its energy imports in U.S. dollars despite only 2 percent of imports coming from the U.S.

Most of the dollar-denominated imports are from Russia and the Gulf states.

"We will have to change that. The euro must become the active instrument of a new sovereign Europe," said Mr. Juncker, whose five-year tenure as commission president is due to end next year.


Jean-Claude Juncker has called on the European Union to champion the euro as a global currency to rival the dollar and demanded more powers for Brussels to flex its muscles on the world stage.
“We must do more to allow our single currency to play its full role on the international scene,” Mr Juncker said.

“It is absurd that Europe pays for 80pc of its energy import bill – worth €300bn (£267bn) a year – in US dollars when only roughly 2pc of our energy imports come from the United States,” he said.

“It is absurd that European companies buy European planes in dollars instead of euro,” he said. “The euro must become the face and the instrument of a new, more sovereign Europe.”


If Europe is fully onboard the train, then the threat to the petrodollar is very real.
In a statement after a meeting of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran, the group said they were determined to develop payment mechanisms to continue trade with Iran despite skepticism by many diplomats that this will be possible.

"Mindful of the urgency and the need for tangible results, the participants welcomed practical proposals to maintain and develop payment channels notably the initiative to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports, including oil," the group said in a joint statement issued after the statement.

Several European diplomats said the SPV idea was to create a barter system, similar to one used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to exchange Iranian oil for European goods without money changing hands.

The idea is to circumvent U.S. sanctions due to be restored in November under which Washington can cut off from the U.S. financial system any bank that facilitates an oil transaction with Iran.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the decision to set up such a vehicle had already been taken and that technical experts would meet again to flesh out the details.

"In practical terms this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world," she said.

The moment it was suggested that any country or organisation should be excluded from the SWIFT exchange, as a punishment /sanction, its demise was inevitable.

A short term way of hurting your opposition and a long term way of hurting the petro dollar.

The fact that EU countries now see this and see the way the US is trying to bully them into compliance, only speeds up the process.

Blockchain based exchanges will eventually make SWIFT even less relevant.
Foreign news source reportedly claims:

India will start buying Iranian oil in Rupi



Turkey is reportedly looking into a plan to establish a join bank with Iran to help both countries trade in local currencies as US pressures to restrict their access to the dollar are already mounting.

Ümit Kiler, the Turkish Representative Chairman of Iran-Turkey Business Council, wrote in a recent article in the Turkish newspaper Dünya that the plan would be put on the agenda of the Iranian and Turkish governments in the near future, stressing that the move would be crucial in promoting economic bonds between Tehran and Ankara.


they should create a 'bad bank' and include any failing currency that asks to join

then they could issue some shiny new currency that they all agree too.

Just like the US did with those failing banks like Fannie Mae ..........
So this is not news to anyone who has been paying attention, but it's still interesting that folks with voices in the mainstream financial press are starting to talk about it:

A backlash against the world’s reserve currency may be brewing as rivals to America look to weaken the dollar’s hold over the global financial system, says Marko Kolanovic, macro-market wiz at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

President Donald’s Trump’s isolationist foreign policy is a “catalyst for long-term de-dollarization” among countries from Europe and Asia to the Middle East that have long lamented the hegemony of the U.S. currency, he wrote in a note co-authored with Bram Kaplan.

“With the current U.S. administration policies of unilateralism, trade wars, and sanctions increasingly affecting both friends and foes, the question arises whether the rest of the world should diversify away from the risks of the U.S. dollar and dollar-centric finance,” said the quantitative and derivatives strategists.
Gold, which tends to benefit from a weaker greenback, also offers a hedge for any tentative push to de-dollarize. And it’s looking decidedly cheap right now, according to JPMorgan.


... and on that last note:
Central banks have emerged as some of the biggest buyers of gold this year, with purchases hitting their highest level in six years, according to analysts at Macquarie.

Central banks have bought a total of 264 tonnes of gold this year, "by far the most at this stage of the year of any period in the last six years," the bank said.

While gold buying has been dominated by Russia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan, Poland also bought gold for the first time since 1998, Macquarie said. ...

http://gata.org/node/18526 (ht: ft.com)
News on the SPV development has been superficial. It seems that the players involved aren't wanting to share the process with the public (or USA).

Just days after Europe unveiled a "special purpose vehicle" meant to circumvent SWIFT and US monopoly on global dollar-denominated monetary transfers - and potentially jeopardizing the reserve status of the dollar - Iran said it was finalizing mechanisms for the oil trade to bypass US sanctions against the country, said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi.

According to RT, Araghchi said that Tehran is not ruling out the possibility of setting up an alternative to the international payments provider SWIFT to circumvent sanctions imposed by Washington.

"As we know, Europeans are also trying to see how SWIFT can continue working with Iran, or if a parallel [financial] messaging system is necessary… This is something that we are still working on," Araghchi said.

According to the Iranian diplomat, the independent equivalent of the SWIFT system that was earlier suggested by the EU to protect European firms working in Iran from US sanctions will be available for third countries.

“This is the important element in SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) that it is not only for Europeans but other countries can also use this. We hope that before the re-imposition of the second part of the US sanctions [from November 4], these mechanisms can be in place and be functional,” said the official.

... One year after the country said it would stop accepting US dollars as payment for its (ever shrinking) oil exports (saying the country's state-run oil company would accept payment in yuan instead), Venezuelan Vice President for Economy Tareck El Aissami said Tuesday that Venezuela will officially purge the dollar from its exchange market in favor of euros.

While we're sure that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro would love to frame this as his latest gesture of defiance against tyrannical imperialist overreach by Washington, which he has blamed for aggravating the country's humanitarian crisis by waging an "economic war" against the oil-rich nation, remember that the US effectively blocked the Venezuelan government from transacting in dollars last year when it imposed restrictive sanctions on the Maduro regime and the country's state-run oil company, PDVSA. Maduro started the process of moving the country's DICOM system of official tiered exchange rates in September 2017 when he declared that Venezuela would use a "new system of international payments."
The sanctions have largely excluded Venezuela from international capital markets and the US dollar-based financial system, forcing Maduro's regime to rely on money-for-oil loans extended by China.

Hungary’s central bank increased its gold reserves 10-fold, citing the need to improve its holdings’ safety, joining regional peers with relatively high ownership in the European Union’s east.

Following a similar move by Poland, the central bank in Budapest now holds 31.5 tons of the metal, taking the share among total reserves to 4.4 percent, in line with the average in the region, according to a statement published on its website Tuesday.


Poland raised its gold holdings to the highest in at least 35 years, data from the International Monetary Fund showed on Monday.

The country increased its holdings by 4.4 tonnes from August to about 117 tonnes in September, a record, according to data going back to January 1983.

“While the exchange traded funds (ETFs) were losing tonnage, the central banks were buying since they had to maintain domestic currency values against a rising dollar,” said George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management.

“I think you will see that continuing. Central banks are trying to maintain some hold on their currencies by storing gold.”

The Central Bank of Russia has continued getting rid of US Treasury bonds in August. The share of Russian investments in American debt is getting close to zero.

Russian investments in US securities as of August have fallen to just $14 billion. Back in 2011, Russia was one of the largest holders of US debt with a $180 billion investment.
The largest investors in US debt, China and Japan, have also cut their holdings. Chinese holdings of US sovereign debt dropped to $1.165 trillion in August, from $1.171 trillion in July, marking the third consecutive month of declines. Japan has slashed its holdings of US securities to $1.029 trillion in August, the lowest since October 2011.
India and Turkey have followed Russia's lead. Turkey has dropped out of the top-30 list of holders of American debt, while India has been liquidating its investment for five consecutive months to $140 billion in August.

I'm reminded of something the last few weeks & maybe I'll get it out of my head if I share it. It's a line from "The Second Coming" by Yeats.

"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world"

Now, who will rule the wasteland? :flushed:
Now, who will rule the wasteland? :flushed:

I'll see your Yeats and raise you a Shelley:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Well I like Donne's "Death be not proud" better, I think this excerpt from him might be a little more on point. I also think it's good one for those preppers who can't wait for a mass die off to use their bug out bag to go god knows where. While I don't necessarily think "every" death lessens mankind, I often wonder during certain events like the plague, WWI/Spanish Flu, WWII, etc. how many Da Vinci's, how many Newtons, how many Shakespeare's did we lose in events like those? I suppose somebody could also ask how many Hitler's, how many Stalin's how many Genghis Khan's did we lose?

"No man is an island, entire of it self; every man is a peace of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesser, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine own were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...."

Also, I have often wondered what Thoreau & Emerson thoughts were on some of Donne's works. Although they weren't around in Donne's life, I wonder what he might have said about some of their works & philosophies. Maybe it's part of the duality of man, but I often find myself agreeing with big chunks of opposing philosophies or opinions from both camps.
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France's foreign ministry said on Thursday a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that the European Union is considering creating to enable trade with Iran could be used more broadly to help the bloc avoid the extraterritorial reach of U.S. law.
Until now, the SPV appeared to focus solely on Iran. But in a reply to Reuters, the French foreign ministry said the idea was for the SPV to go beyond Iran and cover a wider range of EU trade.
The U.S. special envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, told reporters on Monday that European efforts would struggle to gain traction given there was little demand after more than 100 companies had pulled out of Iran.

With the flood of companies leaving in mind, the European Union’s focus has shifted to the longer term to try to overcome a perception that European policy is held hostage by the U.S. treasury.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has proposed promoting the euro as a global currency to challenge the dollar, potentially allowing oil to be priced on world markets in euros.


Well, I can hardly wait till the mooselimbs storm their embassies there. The ones that are running around today aren't the kind that will sit on hostages for 444 days, then return them once they realize someone in their hostages home country is taking office who isn't afraid to bomb their asses to oblivion. They will do some of the most gruesome things to them, just like you see in the videos they post of it. Sad part is, most of the videos aren't even mentioned, let alone seen by most American & westerners in general. If the videos were shown on the nightly news like they showed combat footage every night during Vietnam, you can bet your sweet ass there'd be a LOT less muzzie sympathizers & apologists and a lot of people asking why aren't we turning that area into one large sheet of glass! :mad:
Sri Lanka on Tuesday called for a “coalition of the willing” to help stabilize free-falling emerging market currencies around the globe, as the beleaguered rupee slumped to fresh lows.

The island’s currency bottomed out at a record-low 174.12 rupees to the dollar, resisting a slew of measures by policymakers to arrest its steady decline.

The rupee has shed more than 12 percent of its value this year and Sri Lanka fears it could slide further as US sanctions squeeze Iran, the island’s chief source of oil.

A stronger dollar has made it difficult for emerging markets to repay debts and battered global currencies from Turkey to India and Argentina.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera invited those nations experiencing currency crises to visit Colombo and hash out a strategy.

“The rise of the dollar is having a serious impact on our currencies. We are not the only one affected,” he told reporters in the Sri Lankan capital.

“I want to build a coalition of the willing to deal with this problem. I don’t see the global situation improving any time soon.”


What can a "coalition of the willing" actually do though?
Central banks are set to increase their purchases of gold in 2018 for the first time in five years as eastern European and Asian countries seek to diversify their reserves.

Net purchases of gold by central banks are forecast to rise to 450 metric tons this year, up from 375 tons in 2017, according to consultancy Metals Focus Ltd. That will be the first increase since 2013, when banks boosted their holdings by 646 tons, the most for several decades.

With just over two months of the year left, it’s more likely that the projection will be raised than lowered because central banks generally seem interested in purchases, according to Junlu Liang, a senior analyst at London-based Metals Focus.

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