Thursday, March 13, 2014

Birth Pains Increasing

Has anyone else noticed that we're back to a 12-hour cycle on the pertinent news 'of the day'? 

This has happened before - and as we would expect, as birth pains, we would have another round of a 12-hour news cycle and it is here in force. The news is coming in fast and furious (not to be confused with...well, never mind) right now. One wonder how long this birth pain will last. 

First up we see escalation in the Ukraine:

With diplomacy having failed miserably to resolve the Russian annexation of Crimea, and soon East Ukraine (and with John Kerry in charge of it, was there ever any doubt), the US is moving to the heavy artillery. First, moments ago, the US DOE announced in a shocking announcement that it would proceed with the first draw down and sale of crude from the US strategic petroleum reserve, the first since June 2011, in what it said was a "test sale to check the operational capabilities of system infrastructure", but is really just a shot across the bow at Putin for whom high commodity prices are orders of magnitude more important than how the Russian stock market performs. And now, as Bloomberg just reported, the US has escalated even further, citing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who "has claimed that in the case of an escalation of unrest in Crimea, the U.S. Army is ready to back up Ukraine and its allies in Europe with military actions."

So much for those peaceful hour long phone calls between Obama and Putin.
From Bloomberg:
According to the Web site of the Atlantic Council, Dempsey said that "he's been talking to his military counterparts in Russia, but he's also sending a clear message to Ukraine and members of NATO that the U.S. military will respond militarily if necessary."

"We're trying to tell [Russia] not to escalate this thing further into Eastern Ukraine, and allow the conditions to be set for some kind of resolution in Crimea. We do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies. And I have assured them that if that treaty obligation is triggered [in Europe], we would respond," Dempsey said.

According to the General, the incursion of Russian troops into the Crimea creates risks for all the countries of Europe and NATO allies.

"If Russia is allowed to do this, which is to say move into a sovereign country under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine, it exposes Eastern Europe to some significant risk, because there are ethnic enclaves all over Eastern Europe and the Balkans," Dempsey said.
...the real question is how Putin will react to this quantum escalation in verbal hostilities: wild guess here, but somehow we doubt he will pick up and leave.

[Note Soros' involvement in the nuances of the EU structure and his view of who should lead  (bolded)]

Asked about the potential consequences of Britain's withdrawal from the EU, Soros said: "I will leave it to the British business community, particularly the multinationals that set up factories here as an entry point into the common market, to explain to the public what they stand to lose.

Soros, in London to publicise a new book – The Tragedy of theEuropean Union – made his remarks after the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, won plaudits from business groups for playing down the chances of an in-out referendum should the opposition win next year's general election.

Blaming Germany for the EU's predicament, Soros said it was possible for a country such as Japan to cope with prolonged periods of stagnation, but not for an incomplete association of nations.

Soros said he had abandoned his idea that the euro should split into two – a stronger, northern euro led by Germany, and a weaker, southern euro led by France. Germany, he said, had ensured the future of the euro, but without solving any of the underlying problems.
"Germany did the minimum to ensure that [the euro's survival]. Unfortunately it was only the minimum.

He predicted dire consequences should any of the single currency's 18 members decide to leave the euro in favour of a go-it-alone strategy.
"If the euro disintegrated in a disorderly manner it would not have solved the problem, it would have created an even bigger problem – a real meltdown," Soros said. "The problems of the euro don't have a national solution. Leaving the euro is a disaster. It would mean defaulting on a country's debts. That would have very severe consequences for financial stability. It might be beyond the powers of the authorities to control."
He added: "The euro is a fragile union. Any country leaving the euro would create very serious problems, both for the country leaving and for the euro itself.

Soros described the crisis in Ukraine as a "wake-up call" to Europe – and called on the union to concentrate on doing what was best for the EU as a whole, rather than focusing on the needs of individual member states.

"Europe now faces this issue. Are they going to respond to the invasion of Crimea based on their narrow national interests, or are they going to act on a united basis representing the interests of the whole European Union?
"It is a challenge and I hope that Europe will respond to it and actually rediscover its original mission."

If a 9.0 earthquake were to strike along California's sparsely populated North Coast, it would have a catastrophic ripple effect.
A giant tsunami created by the quake would wash away coastal towns, destroy U.S. 101 and cause $70 billion in damage over a large swath of the Pacific coast. More than 100 bridges would be lost, power lines toppled and coastal towns isolated. Residents would have as few as 15 minutes notice to flee to higher ground, and as many as 10,000 would perish.
Scientists last year published this grim scenario for a massive rupture along the Cascadia fault system, which runs 700 miles off shore from Northern California to Vancouver Island.

The Cascadia subduction zone is less known than the San Andreas fault, which scientists have long predicted will produce The Big One. But in recent years, scientists have come to believe that the Cascadia is far more dangerous than originally believed and have been giving the system more attention.

The pro-Iranian Palestinian Jihad Islami terror group rained Wednesday, March 12 a heavy, continuous missile barrage against Israel, just two days after the Israeli presentation in Eilat of the illicit cargo of Iranian arms destined for terrorists aboard the Klos C, which Israeli commandos captured on the Red Sea last week. The presentation included 60 M302 short-range missiles made in Syria and flown to Iran for shipment to Gaza and Sinai via Sudan.
The Jihad Islami took advantage of the heavy cloud and rain over the region, conditions which impede Israeli air force action, to release a heavy barrage of Qassam and Grade rockets against Israeli towns and villages. By nightfall, at least 50 rockets had been fired at the towns of Sderot and Netivot and the regions of Shear Hanegev, Eshkol and Bnei Shimon.

Palestinian Jihad Islami operates under the direct command of the Iranian Al Qods Brigades commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was given charge by Tehran last month of Middle East areas of conflict in which Iran has an interest, including the Palestinian-Israeli sector. His modus operandi is known to be never to let an Israeli strike against Iran or any of its allies go unanswered.

The massive rocket attack from the Gaza Strip is seen his payback for Israel’s interception of the Iranian missile ship, just as Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah, may be expected to hit back for Israel’s aerial bombardment of its missiles on the Syrian-Lebanese border and more attacks to come from Gaza.

Residents of southern Israel experienced several tense hours Wednesday night as they waited to see whether the worst was behind them in the latest round of fighting along the Gaza border, or whether a barrage of rocket attacks by Gaza terrorists and subsequent retaliatory bombing runs by the IDF would spiral into further violence.

On Wednesday evening the Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes on 29 targets in the Gaza Strip after over 50 rockets and mortar shells were fired into Israel earlier in the day – the worst attack of its kind since 2012.

Israeli military sources said after the late-night retaliatory strikes that Israel would now wait to see how Hamas and Islamic Jihad responded. If there were no further rocket attacks on Israel, the current flare-up would be over. But if there was more rocket fire, Israel would again respond.

Palestinians said at least five strategic points were hit in the coastal enclave, primarily in areas around the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah.

And for another global warming update:

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