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  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    (February 255, 2015) Greece will not complete power utility, grid operator sales -minister.

    (Reuters) - Greece will NOT continue with privatizing its dominant electricity utility PPC or power grid operator ADMIE, Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said, despite promising its creditors not to halt sales that are underway. Minister Lafazanis tells us that the potential buyers have not submitted binding bids. That is also the case with PPC.

    Be Careful of Meaningless “Yes” and Hidden “No”:
    So the Greek minister is saying that because "binding" bids have not been submitted, than "sales" are not considered as underway. I believe the Troika will see this as a direct contravention of the "agreement" that was stipulated a scant 36 hours ago. If nothing else, it signifies that it's important to get the Greeks to specifically define their terminology. I see it as signifying that the Greeks are practicing deliberate Obfuscation - the hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, willfully ambiguous, or harder to interpret.

    Published IMF Concerns:
    After digging around a bit I found that the IMF published a letter immediately after the time extension was approved contending that spending goals associated with large cost areas like workers-benefits, rights, and pensions were exceptionally vague rather than offering specific cut ranges. The IMF also warned about suggested policies that could end up raising costs, including a new “basic income scheme” for early retirees and increases to the minimum wage.

    Previous Greek Loan Agreement Had Agreed on Specific Cost Cuts:
    To this issue I point out that while the negotiating parties were under time pressure, the Troika already had specific percent cut guidelines prepared as part of the pre-existing loan agreement. Given that the Greeks supposedly surrendered on all points and were required to still be bound by the terms of the pre-existing loan agreement, why weren’t those specific cost cuts put into the new agreement?

    Orderly Greek Exit Being Set-up?
    Does the very vagueness of the agreement represent a tact admission that everything is still negotiable? Or is it a "tell" that the real purpose of the time extension is to allow all parties sufficient time to set-up an orderly Greek Exit?

    Something like a Greek Exit has to be keep secret until the moment that capital controls and the devaluation of the new currency are put into place. If all discussions suddenly ended 36 hours ago, a non-orderly Greek exit would have taken place.

    Investment Plays?
    If a Greek Exit occurs, I again suggest that an ETF like UUP might be a beneficial play. It’s already up 16.3% since the heating up of the current Greek crisis. Keep in mind that if there is a Greek exit, additional pressures will be generated on the Euro as the cracks in the EU deepen.
    Feb 25, 2015. 11:58 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    It appears the reason the Troika approved the "Greek list" without reservation is because the European Commission drafted the entire letter!

    So the Greeks basically said you write it? Is this the reason the Greek list was so vague - the EU ran out of time and went through the motions to get the kick the can machinery into place??
    Feb 24, 2015. 03:12 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]

    It appears that the Greek Kraken was stuffed into the toilet bowl and got flushed.

    Here is a link to the Greek Government’s Full List of Reforms Sent to the EC, ECB and IMF.

    The very first thing that caught my attention is there are no specific numbers? It's a list of non-specific promises that reverse everything the New Greek Government said they were going to do. However, with no specific numbers there is nothing for the Troika to evaluate. Note I have stopped using the substitute BS names. The Troika is the Troika.

    The list of reforms is basically the Troika's wish list. An agreement in principal, and those principals violate the electoral mandate provided by the Greek people. The list could have been written by the Troika itself.

    I don't see how the current government can survive this. I see they have rescinded all of the actions taken right after the election. For example, the issue of the cleaning people's rehire has been suspended until October 13th.

    I don't see how the Greek government can stay in power after what amounts to a total betrayal of the Greek electorate.
    Feb 24, 2015. 02:31 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    New graphic in the header showing support for anti-austerity and anti-euro parties has risen across Europe. There is no date on the chart, but it's likely to be February 2015.
    Feb 23, 2015. 04:19 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    No surprise here...

    Reuters February 23, 2015
    by Karolina Tagaris and Renee Maltezou
    Greece to send reform list to Eurogroup Tuesday, misses Monday deadline.

    On Friday, the Eurogroup set a Monday deadline for Athens to supply a reform list, which is a condition for securing a four-month extension to the country's bailout program. The official said the Eurogroup had agreed that the submission could be made on Tuesday.
    According to another news source, several proposals were rejected on Monday night as unrealistic. The institutions want a certain amount of spending cuts now, and will reject proposals that don't provide them.

    For example, cuts of 1.1B on healthcare, 400m on defense and 400m on local government have already been agreed. But gaps of more than 400m remained. Greek leaders presumably have reversed their opposition to a twenty per cent cut [!] in the minimum wage and also agreed to 15,000 immediate job cuts in public sector organizations. Of course, even if cuts are promised, they still have to be implemented.

    Meanwhile, a 24-hour general strike called by unions to protest against wage cuts disrupted public transport, including ferry services, and shut down schools and government offices. The unionists say - We fought for two decades to get European standard labor rights and now they’re being taken away by the European's.

    Has a stalemate emerged? On the one hand the current Greek government was elected to provide relief from perceived oppressive austerity conditions. On the other hand, in order to continue to pay back their enormous debt, the Greeks need to borrow more money from the lending institutions. But in order to get additional loans needed to service the debt, the Greeks need to make more spending cuts. In other words, to continue paying back the debt the Greeks need to borrow more money AND to increase government spending cuts to service yet more debt.

    I suspect all of the back and forth political theater between the Greeks and the EU are designed to convince the Greek electorate that if they want austerity cuts, Greece needs to leave the Euro. I believe that is the ultimate strategy of the Greek government.
    Feb 23, 2015. 04:08 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    I see lots of spins flying today (2/21/2015). The Greek government says they won a big victory on Friday. This is nonsense. They lost on all fronts.

    Meanwhile, the EU is thumping their chests saying they won. No, they lost as well. The EU's unyielding stance ignoring the Greek peoples democratic election results has been duly noted by anti-austerity and anti-EU parties throughout the EU.

    On top of this, all the bickering and name calling produced no closure on the fundamental issue. That issue is that Greece is bankrupt and it's never going to be able to pay back the enormous sums borrowed/leant. There is no closure.

    On Monday, the Greeks will suggest changes to their loan (now called the MFFA instead of the "program") and the three institutions (previously labeled the Troika) can veto them. No agreement - no money. The institutions want to see cost cuts, layoffs and the like. I doubt they will see anything like that in Monday's Greek proposal.

    If the institutions accept a Greek program with no cost cuts / layoffs, than we have evidence that despite all the chest thumping, the EU's stance has softened. If the program is rejected as inadequate, the turmoil starts again.
    Feb 21, 2015. 05:39 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    The agreement:

    1 - Completion of the current review – Greece has basically agreed to conclude the current bailout. Any funding is conditional on such a process. In other words, the Troika will continue its review, and demands. However, the Troika's name will probably be changed to the institutions.

    2 - No unilateral actions can be taken by the Greek government.

    3 - Greece must submit on Monday a first list of reform measures. The agreement WILL BE CONDITIONAL on those measures being approved by the EU/IMF/ECB (aka, the Troika) as a step towards completing the current bailout.
    How will the Greek people react to the "agreement"? I guess we are going to find out over the Weekend.
    Feb 20, 2015. 07:43 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    Nigel Farage takes a small victory lap over his warnings of the anti-democratic nature of the EU that will crush, and kill, and destroy nation state democracy.
    Feb 18, 2015. 04:10 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 389: Feb. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    I think there is still something to learn HTL.

    The stock is approaching an unusual event, a cashless issuance of B warrants. I think it would be an advance in the state of the art to see how an event like that unfolds under a well performed technical analysis. For example, what happens to stock price, volume, variability and trend? Most people seem to think the "B" event will look just like a dilution, but I wonder about that. It seems like tracking a cashless issuance of B warrants is akin to viewing the birth of a black hole in astronomy. As far as I know, no one has ever had that opportunity.

    Another situation is the opportunity to track how long-term share holders might mitigate some of their loses by transforming their stock positions from long-term holds and move into tactical trading ranges. The stock is entering a phase where I believe it would be helpful to have accurate information on recent low and high price plateaus. How many long-term holds had transformed their long positions into a tactical trading range to take advantage of the double. If the answer was few and far between, than Maxim was left to dominate that double. It's not necessary to put more money at risk here, but if you are going to take a big loss, why not act to reduce it? I am a student of military history. Performing a well executed retreat in the face of overwhelming odds is one of the qualities that identifies a great general from an average one.

    No matter what you decide HTL, your work on this has been outstanding.
    Feb 15, 2015. 09:31 AM | 16 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu, MERS, Ebola And Medical News Concentrator January 1, 2015 To ?? [View instapost]
    February 13, 2016
    Mosquito that carries Yellow Fever spotted in San Diego

    Some neighborhoods around Naval Base San Diego and Chula Vista are on high alert over a potentially dangerous white-striped mosquito that could be moving in.

    Up until a few months ago, the Aedes Aegypti mosquito had never been seen in San Diego. It is known to carry Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever and Chikungunya.

    A man who lives near the Naval Base reported the first local sighting at the end of last year. Aedes Aegypti is particularly aggressive; they will follow people during the day into their homes or offices.

    Since then, more than 4,100 properties have been investigated: 2,984 in Chula Vista and 1,145 in San Diego. In total, eight adult mosquitos and two larval samples were found.

    Dr. Steve Waterman with the Centers for Disease Control is closely monitoring these two areas. He took 10News out to one area that is considered high-risk in Chula Vista and pointed to the flower pots sitting in standing water and plastic children’s toys as potential mosquito breeding grounds. He says the mosquitos only require a half-inch of standing water to multiply.

    “I think every [home] could have mosquitos breeding in them,” said Dr. Waterman, as he looked around. “What we’re really concerned about here is Dengue fever, and another disease which just recently reached this hemisphere called Chikungunya Virus… Dengue can cause bleeding problems and death in a percentage of cases and Chikungunya can cause severe joint pain. These are diseases you don’t want in your community.”

    Aedes Aegypti was once only found in more tropical areas but it has recently spread into parts of the Southern United States like Key West, South Texas and Arizona. It is now commonly found on the East Coast and it just began appearing in California two years ago. Yuma reported an alarming 52 cases of Dengue fever last year. Here in San Diego there were six cases of Dengue fever, all of which originated outside of the country.

    Waterman says San Diego's proximity to the border is a potential issue. Dengue Fever is endemic in Mexico.

    The DEH tells 10News that the Aedes Aegypti eggs are hardy, and Dr. Waterman expects that mosquito levels could rise again in the spring.“The eggs can survive for a long time, months, and when water appears they can hatch. It wouldn’t be surprising to see it. The question is, can they identify quickly where it is and contain it?”
    Feb 13, 2015. 04:18 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    Tsipras Invited To Visit Premier Li Keqiang In Beijing.
    Feb 11, 2015. 05:28 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    Nothing like a good scalp in the morning :)
    Feb 11, 2015. 02:35 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    I would be careful about investing in Samsung at this time. Samsung's smart TVs can record what you say:

    Yes, you have to activate voice commands for this to work, but Samsung, in their infinite wisdom says it can share what the TV set is recording (Audio and Video?) with whomever it wishes. By the way, there are links on the net that even if you turn the voice commands off, its still recording. What you can do is un-plug it from the Internet. But than why pay all that extra money for a smart TV?

    I suspect that Samsung's statement that they can do whatever they want to do what that kind of information will shoot them in the foot. To me, that is a direct violation of trust. They will only share such information with authorized companies? Who authorizes them? Do they guarantee the security of that information?

    The information is public now. I wonder what happened to LG when they did the same thing to their customers some time back. I suspect a backlash.

    I own a smart TV from Samsung. Mine does not have the voice command feature, but never-the-less, my trust in Samsung is gone. I will never own another Samsung device. My TV is attached to the Internet, but after seeing this, the hell with that. I am unplugging it from the Internet. Who knows what else its recording?
    Feb 11, 2015. 02:34 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • QuickChat #278, February 5, 2015 [View instapost]
    I do not think there is any doubt of it.

    Today, at exactly the same time that the Greek FinMin (the Kraken) is in Brussels discussing the fate of Greece in the Eurozone, the new Greek foreign minister will be in the Kremlin, getting instant updates from Brussels and perhaps discussing the fate of Greece in the Eurasian Economic Union.

    Update - The Russians say they will asset Greece with financial help. Of course, that help will come with strings.

    Remember, it takes a unanimous vote by EU members to apply sanctions on Russia. In addition, the EU has no mechanism in place to eject member states. The only mechanism they have is to disallow a state to vote. My guess is Greece's ability to vote in EU matters will be removed because they did not pay their debts. That brings up some interesting questions for EU member states.
    Feb 11, 2015. 01:16 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stability Of The European Union (23) January 1, 2015. [View instapost]
    I added a picture "The Kraken is amused" at the bottom of the concentrators header. I believe that's Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem in the foreground.

    Here is an interesting demo:

    Consider the itsy bitsy one he added as Greece.
    Feb 11, 2015. 12:27 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment