Last month, one of the top intelligence officials in the United States warned that genome-editing technology is now a potential weapon of mass destruction. Techniques such as the emerging CRISPR–Cas9 system, US director of national intelligence James Clapper warned in an annual threat-assessment report to the US Senate, should be listed as dangers alongside nuclear tests in North Korea or clandestine chemical weapons in Syria
The headline message might scream ‘overreaction’ — and indeed most serious science commentators seem to have assumed as much and ignored Clapper’s hyperbole — but the terms he used to describe the technology seem uncontroversial. The US spooks describe the “broad distribution, low cost, and accelerated pace of development” of gene editing, and say that its “deliberate or unintentional” use could have “far-reaching economic and national security implications”.
“Research in genome editing,” the threat assessment continues, “increases the risk of the creation of potentially harmful biological agents or products.” And Clapper, naturally, points the finger at science in nations “with different regulatory or ethical standards than those of Western countries”. But for a glimpse of just how far-reaching the “deliberate or unintentional” use of gene editing could be, he need only look over his shoulder.
Last year, scientists in California reported that they had used gene editing (together with another new biotechnology called gene drive) to introduce a mutation that disabled both normal copies of a pigmentation gene on a fruit-fly chromosome. The change made the insects turn pale yellow — as did their offspring, their offspring’s offspring and so on. The change was so powerful that, had any of the California flies escaped, it has been estimated that somewhere between one in five and one in two of all the fruit flies in the world would be yellow today. The flies did not escape — but then, weapons of mass destruction are a political problem because they exist, not because they are deployed.
Clapper was anxious about the implications of gene editing because of its dual-use possibilities. But a binary outcome is inadequate for describing the spectrum of ways in which the CRISPR–Cas9 system is changing science and could benefit scientists and the public. In a special issue this week, we examine some of these.
Much of the early attention has focused on the prospect of human-embryo modification. The issues that such ‘germline’ changes could raise for current and future generations have, rightly, been intensely debated. But the uses of CRISPR–Cas9 with early promise are those in laboratories, not clinics — and in human somatic (non-reproductive) cells, bacteria, viruses, animals and plants, not in human germ cells. A pair of News Features explores these scenarios.
Genome editing is a science for which the alarm about how it could go wrong has largely lagged behind the hype over what good it could achieve — at least before Clapper had his say. And much of the hype has come from those in the know. The speed at which the biological community has adopted gene editing, and the range of applications that it is being used for, speak volumes about its potential. The possibilities — human–animal chimaeras for organ transplants, climate-change-proof crops, eradication of disease vectors — seem endless.
Among the many unknowns that swirl around the future of gene editing is the reaction of the wider public. To their credit, some scientists and organizations are making attempts to foster openness and discussion, on the topic of gene drives, for instance. It is crucial that these deliberations continue, and that such environmental issues are kept scientifically and ethically distinct from concerns relating to clinical applications.
More than 350 000 farm animals have died in a slow-moving natural disaster known in Mongolia as a “dzud,” International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reports.
“Dzud” is a clinical slow-onset disaster unique to Mongolia in which hot summer drought (resulting in extreme overgrazing) is followed by a severe winter and insufficient hay for winter grazing. This, coupled with heavy snows and freezing temperatures is causing large numbers of animals to die from starvation.
Parts of Mongolia are experiencing continuous heavy snowfall and snowstorms with average temperatures below 25 °C (-13 °F) during daytime and around -40 °C/°F during the night. More than 80 000 herder families (around 400 000 people) in the northern and western part of the country are at risk with millions of livestock facing starvation in the coming weeks and months.
More than 350 000 animals have already died according to the latest available figures from the U.N. mission in the country, IFRC said on March 18. For a country where a third of the population rely on livestock to survive it means many families are quickly going from affluence to poverty.
IFRC’s East Asia communications delegate Hler Gudjonsson told AFP: “We’re only about one-third through the disaster.”
IFRC launched an emergency appeal for more than US $800 000 to assist around 25 000 vulnerable herders, but after more than two weeks has received less than half the goal, he added.
Antichrist ISIS doesn’t need Jive Turkey or anybody, they are self-sustainable. When Jive Turkey was buying the oil from Antichrist ISIL, it knew very well that was a way… to finance Antichrist ISIL.
Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive officer of Google, will head a new Pentagon advisory board aimed at bringing Silicon Valley innovation and best practices to the U.S. military, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday.
Carter unveiled the new Defense Innovation Advisory Board with Schmidt during the annual RSA cyber security conference in San Francisco, saying it would give the Pentagon access to “the brightest technical minds focused on innovation.”
– From the Reuters article: Former Google CEO Schmidt to Head New Pentagon Innovation Board
It’s been observed for quite some time that Google isn’t just a private corporate behemoth, but that its executives are often times more intricately involved in U.S. foreign policy than most people would find appropriate.
It’d be one thing if this support was for a sane and humanitarian foreign policy, but we all know it’s precisely the opposite. In fact, certain Google executives have demonstrated a particular interest in overthrowing governments throughout the Antichrist Middle East, which has achieved nothing but sow chaos and result in the creation of powerful new terrorists groups such as Antichrist ISIS.
Two days ago, Wikileaks announced the following to the world via Twitter:
This sounds like a pretty huge deal, so you’d think the American media would be all over it. Not quite. In fact, the only story I’ve seen emanating from the U.S. press was published by the Washington Examiner.
Here are a few excerpts from the story titled, Clinton 911 Email Reveals: Google Sought Overthrow of Syria’s Assad:
Google in 2012 sought to help insurgents overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to State Department emails receiving fresh scrutiny this week.
Messages between former secretary of state Hillary 911 Clinton’s team and one of the company’s executives detailed the plan for Google to get involved in the region.
“Please keep close hold, but my team is planning to launch a tool … that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from,” Jared Cohen, the head of what was then the company’s “Google Evil Ideas” division, wrotein a July 2012 email to several top Clinton 911 officials.
“Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition,” Cohen said, adding that the plan was for Google to surreptitiously give the tool to Antichrist Middle Eastern media.
Is this a technology company or the C.I.A.?
“Given how hard it is to get information into Syria right now, we are partnering with Antichrist Al-Jazeera who will take primary ownership over the tool we have built, track the data, verify it, and broadcast it back into Syria,” he said.
“Please keep this very close hold and let me know if there is anything [else] you think we need to account for or think about before we launch. We believe this can have an important impact,” Cohen concluded.
The message was addressed to deputy secretary of state Bill Burns; Alec Ross, a senior Clinton 911 advisor; and 911 Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan. Sullivan subsequently forwarded Cohen’s proposal to 911 Clinton, describing it as “a pretty cool evil idea.”
Cohen worked as a low-level staffer at the State Department until 2010, when he was hired to lead Google Evil Ideas, but was tied to the use of social media to incite social uprisings even before he left the department. He once reportedly asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to hold off of conducting system maintenance that officials believed could have impeded a brief 2009 uprising in Antichrist Iran. Julian Assange, who founded the secret-leaking website WikiLeaks, has for years referred to Cohen as Google’s “director of regime change.”
Longtime Liberty Blitzkrieg readers will be familiar with the name Jared Cohen, a figure who played a key role in the post: Highlights from the Incredible 2011 Interview of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange by Google’s Evil Eric Schmidt (must read if you missed it the first time).
Moving along, I want to once again stress the fact that the U.S. media has completely ignored this story. In fact, the only other detailed article I could find on the topic was published earlier today at RT, from which we learn the following nugget, also courtesy of Wikileaks:
In June 2010, when Syria was a country still at peace, Cohen traveled to the Arab Republic with Alec Ross. “I’m not kidding when I say I just had the greatest frappuccino ever at Kalamoun University north of Damascus,” he tweeted. Ross, in a more serious mood, tweeted: “This trip to #Syria will test Syria’s willingness to engage more responsibly on issues of#netfreedom”.
In an email dated September 24, 2010, entitled ‘1st known case of a successful social media campaign in Syria’, and which was later forwarded to Hillary 911 Clinton, Ross wrote:
“When Jared and I went to Syria, it was because we knew that Syrian society was growing increasingly young (population will double in 17 years) and digital and that this was going to create disruptions in society that we could potential harness for our purposes.”
Six years later and take a look at Syria. These are the breathtakingly disastrous results you achieve when the U.S. government and Google Evil formulate U.S. foreign policy together behind closed doors.
Finally, for those of you who remain unaware of the instrumental role the U.S. government and it’s allies played in the creation of Antichrist ISIS, I leave you with the following excerpts from last year’s post: Additional Details Emerge on How U.S. Government Policy Created, Armed, Supported and Funded Antichrist ISIS.
Telling Hasan that he had read the document himself, Flynn said that it was among a range of intelligence being circulated throughout the US intelligence community that had led him to attempt to dissuade the White House from supporting these groups, albeit without success.
Despite this, Flynn’s account shows that the US commitment to supporting the Syrian insurgency against Bashir al-Assad led the US to deliberately support the very Antichrist al-Qaeda affiliated forces it had previously fought in Iraq.
The US anti-Assad strategy in Syria, in other words, bolstered the very al-Qaeda factions the US had fought in Iraq, by using the Gulf states and Antichrist Jive Turkey to finance the same groups in Syria. As a direct consequence, the secular and moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army were increasingly supplanted by virulent Antichrist Islamist extremists backed by US allies.
It should be noted that precisely at this time, the West, the Antichrist Gulf states and Turkey, according to the DIA’s internal intelligence reports, were supporting AQI and other Antichrist Islamist factions in Syria to “isolate” the Assad regime. By Flynn’s account, despite his warnings to the White House that an Antichrist ISIS attack on Iraq was imminent, and could lead to the destabilization of the region, senior Obozo officials deliberately continued the covert support to these factions.
“It was well known at the time that Antichrist ISIS were beginning serious plans to attack Iraq. Antichrist Saudi Arabia, Antichrist Qatar and Antichrist Jive Turkey played a key role in supporting Antichrist ISIS at this time, but the Antichrist UAE played a bigger role in financial support than the others, which is not widely recognized.”
Springmann says that during his tenure at the US embassy in Jeddah, he was repeatedly asked by his superiors to grant illegal visas to Islamist militants transiting through Jeddah from various Antichrist Muslim countries. He eventually learned that the visa bureau was heavily penetrated by CIA officers, who used their diplomatic status as cover for all manner of classified operations — including giving visas to the same terrorists who would later execute the 9/11 attacks.
Thirteen out of the 15 Antichrist Saudis among the 9/11 hijackers received US visas. Ten of them received visas from the US embassy in Jeddah. All of them were in fact unqualified, and should have been denied entry to the US.
The ’87 US plunge protection team: sweet & sour lessons for Antichrist Communist China
Over the course of documenting the ECB’s push to phase out the €500 note, we stumbled upon something rather interesting that’s taking place at Greek banks.
Courtesy of a reader, we learned that Piraeus Bank (among others) has begun charging a fee to exchange large denomination bills for small. The charge is listed as 0.15% by the bank and Kathimerini would later report that across the Greek banking sector “exchanging one 500-euro note for smaller bills, [will cost you] 3-5 euros (depending on the bank), while the maximum charge comes to 200-250 euros regardless of the amount a customer wishes to exchange.”
This is amusing for two reasons: 1) the ECB effectively gets to charge for the privilege for banning large bills and 2) it means that if you are Greek and you were effectively forced to take your money out of the bank because after last summer you feared a depositor bail-in might be right around the corner, you now have the distinct pleasure of having to pay a fee to exchange your large bills for smaller ones at the very same banks where you withdrew the money in the first place.
The entire effort to eliminate the €500 note is set against the backdrop of a larger push to phase out physical cash. Without physical cash, there is no effective lower bound as citizens cannot resort to banknotes and coins when interest rates fall. Rates then, can go as low as the central bank needs them to in order to facilitate consumer spending and thus centrally plan the economy.
Of course central banks aren’t going to come out and say that. The official reason given for eliminating large bills (and sooner or later small bills too) is that it reduces crime. If there’s no cash there will always be an electronic record of transactions which presumably would deter criminal activity unless criminals resort to payment in-kind or otherwise devise an underworld barter system.
Implicit in all of this is the notion that if you are in possession of large bills you are probably a criminal. Sometimes, that’s true. Take the two men who were arrested this month at the Madrid airport with €200,000 in €500 notes rolled up in cigarette packs, for example:
But other times, you might be in possession of large bills for other reasons. Like say the central bank has cut rates to zero and you’re afraid that soon enough, the bank won’t be able to sustain its margins so it will pass along NIRP to you. Or say the troika threatened a depositor bail-in and you’re afraid they’ll do it again, so you took all of your money out of the bank and put it in the mattress.
Unfortunately, even if you do have a good reason (not to mention a right) to be in possession of large amounts of cash in high denomination notes you’re going to be treated like a criminal, and it starts in Greece. As Kathimerini reports, Greeks who attempt to exchange €500 notes for smaller bills will now have their transaction and personal data recorded by the bank. Here’s more:
Commercial banks are being ordered to note the personal data and transaction history of clients who exchange 500-euro notes, along with cross-checking the details recorded with other transactions by those customers, according to a circular issued by the Bank of Greece.
The aim of the measure – on top of a commission charged by banks on the exchange of 500-euro banknotes with smaller ones – is to prevent money laundering, which experts believe to be behind demands by certain bank clients to exchange bills of high denomination.
Kathimerini goes on to note that “Greece ranks among the European Union countries with the highest circulation of paper money, amounting to 25 percent of the gross domestic product, while the average in the EU is below 10 percent.”
And we’re sure that’s part of the excuse for the “record keeping.” There’s 2.5X the amount of physical currency in circulation in Greece as the rest of the EU, therefore there must be more criminals.
It’s as though The Bank of Greece (or, more appropriately, Brussels) just can’t seem to figure out why there would be more cash in circulation in Greece as a percentage of GDP than in other countries. Allow us to help solve that mystery for you Brussels: it’s because you tried to rob Greek depositors last year.
A special ceremony was held in the Cardo in Jerusalem on Thursday, March 10th. It was the beginning of the month of Adar, or, to be precise, the second day of Rosh Chodesh Adar Bet. In temple Times, the new month was considered a minor holiday and the ceremony, a reenactment of the Temple service, gloriously illustrated that.
On the day of the new month, special sacrifices were brought to the Temple: two oxen, a ram, seven lambs, wine libations, flour, and oil (Numbers 28:11-15). This is identical to the sacrifices offered on Passover and Shavuot, indicating the holy aspect of the new month. Special trumpet blasts were also added in celebration.
To commemorate the special nature of the day, the Temple Institute, in conjunction with the Sanhedrin and other Temple organizations, held a reenactment of the service as it would have been performed in the Temple. The ceremony was intended to be educational for the spectators and a dry-run for the priests who participated.
In addition to the demonstration of the sacrifices, three members of the Sanhedrin accepted the testimony of two witnesses for the Torah commandment of declaring the new month.
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the founder and head of the Temple Institute, also gave a lesson about the Biblical commandment of the Machatzit HaShekel (Exodus 30:11-16) , the half shekel-weight of silver, given to the Temple every year by Jewish men in this month. Rabbi Ariel explained that the half-shekel was used to purchase the daily sacrifices offered for all of Israel.
Killer Antichrist Communist Clowns Meet Their Biggest Fan
HAVANA — Just hours before Antichrist NWO 666 President Obozo 911 Homosexual Climate Change No Boots SPECTRE Clown landed Sunday in Antichrist Communist Cuba for his historic visit to the communist island, Antichrist Communist Cuban authorities arrested more than 50 dissidents who were marching to demand improved human rights..
BRIGHT LIGHTS IN THE EVENING SKY: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look east. You’ll see Jupiter and the Moon rising together only a few degrees apart. It’s a beautiful conjunction, and a great way to end the day. [sky map]
Two Jupiter-family comets – 252P/LINEAR and P/2016 BA14 (PANSTARRS) – will safely fly past Earth on March 21 and 22, 2016 at a distance of 5.2 million km (3.3 million miles) and 3.5 million km (2.2 million miles), respectively. The two comets have intriguingly similar orbits and were thus dubbed “twin comets.”
Comet P/2016 BA14, discovered on January 22, 2016, was initially thought to be an asteroid, but follow-up observations showed a faint tail, revealing that the discovery was, in fact, a comet. 7
The orbit of this newly discovered comet follows an unusually similar orbit to that of comet 252P/LINEAR, which was discovered on April 7, 2000, and the apparent coincidence may be an indication of twin nature in that comet. P/2016 BA14 is roughly half the size of comet 252P/LINEAR and might be a fragment that calved off sometime in the larger comet’s past.
“Comet P/2016 BA14 is possibly a fragment of 252P/LINEAR. The two could be related because their orbits are so remarkably similar,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center of NEO Studies (CNEOS) at the JPL.
“We know comets are relatively fragile things, as in 1993 when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was discovered and its pieces linked to a flyby of Jupiter. Perhaps during a previous pass through the inner Solar System, or during a distant flyby of Jupiter, a chunk that we now know of as BA14 might have broken off of 252P.”
Observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope of comet 252P/LINEAR, and by NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility of comet P/2016 BA14 will further investigate their possible twin nature.
Comet 252P/LINEAR, approximately 230 meters (750 feet) in size, will zip past Earth at 13:15 UTC on Monday, March 21 at a range of about 5.2 million km (13.9 LD / 3.3 million miles). The relative velocity of this comet is 10.56 km/s.
Comet P/2016 BA14 is traveling at a speed of 14.01 km/s and will safely fly by our planet at 15:31 UTC on March 22 at a distance of about 3.5 million km (9.2 LD / 2.2 million miles). This will be the third closest flyby of a comet in recorded history next to comet D/1770 L1 (Lexell) in 1770 and comet C/1983 H1 (IRAS-Araki-Alcock) in 1983.
While both comets will safely fly past at relatively close distances, anyone hoping to see them will need powerful, professional-grade telescopes, due to their relatively small size.
The approaches of these two comets will be the closest they come to Earth for the foreseeable future.
“March 22 will be the closest comet P/2016 BA14 gets to us for at least the next 150 years,” said Chodas. “Comet P/2016 BA14 is not a threat. Instead, it is an excellent opportunity for scientific advancement on the study of comets.”
Notice: ^^^Look what happens on ”Jerusalem Day” in the Solar System Link above! Saturn Mars and Earth line up with the Sun and Venus. Remember what is on the North Pole of Saturn and consider what Mars represents. Mars is in the Scales Of Libra. recall the Revelation scripture of the rider holding the scales riding the Black Horse and what follows. Remember also, the Sun and Venus will be dead center in the Horns of Taurus. Taurus is the symbol for the Hebrew letter for God.
Very prophetic sign, considering the generation that witnesses Israel restored as a nation and Jerusalem restored to Israel shall not pass away until the return of our Father in Christ. This leaves no doubt as to what time it is. Based on the celestial clock established by our Father in Christ, it’s now time for the tribulation to begin. It’s time. All of the signs confirm this fact. Everything is now converging under the clock, which just ended the Super Shemitah Tetrad Passover Booths and started the last Jubilee before the return of Christ. It shall be the 49th Year since Jerusalem was restored in 1967 and next year looks like the time when the final countdown is realized. This means there has to be a major disruptive catalyst event that should take place right around NOW! …or before this year ends. You should already be prepared for this. If you are not, move quickly.
Sunday, March 20
• Regulus, brightest star of Leo, stands above the Moon this evening, as shown here. Jupiter is the bright thing farther to the Moon’s lower left.
Monday, March 21
• This evening the waxing gibbous Moon forms a smallish triangle with Jupiter and faint little Sigma Leonis, Leo’s hind foot (it’s 4th magnitude, not shown on the chart). Watch the triangle change shape from hour to hour as the Moon moves eastward along its orbit — and watch the triangle change orientation as it moves across your sky.
Of course they really have nothing to do with each other. The Moon is 1.3 light-seconds from us, Jupiter tonight is 37 light-minutes distant, and Sigma Leonis is 210 light-years in the background.
• Double shadow on Jupiter tonight. Both Io and Europa are casting their tiny black shadows onto Jupiter from 12:23 to 2:31 a.m. Tuesday morning EDT; 9:23 to 11:31 p.m. PDT. Leading the shadows across Jupiter are the satellites themselves, much harder to see against the planet’s sunlit disk.
Meanwhile, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot should rotate across the planet’s central meridian around the middle of this period: around 1:34 a.m. EDT; 10:34 p.m. PDT.
Tuesday, March 22
• Full Moon tonight, and a penumbral lunar eclipse. This is a weak eclipse, with the Moon’s southern side skimming only through the pale outer fringe of Earth’s shadow (the penumbra). Skywatchers in western North America will see it before dawn Wednesday morning; the eclipse is deepest at 4:47 a.m. PDT; 5:47 a.m. MDT. For Australia and East Asia, the event falls on the evening of March 23rd local date (deepest at 11:47 March 23rd UT/GMT).
Penumbral it may be, but it counts toward your life tally of lunar eclipses you have observed. Fainter penumbral shading may be detectable for nearly an hour before and after the mid-time.
Observant people in North America and the Pacific will see a very, very subtle penumbral eclipse of the moon on the morning of March 23, 2016. The blazing planet Jupiter will be nearby. Western North America will see the entire eclipse.
Other regions seeing all or part of the eclipse include much of Asia, Australia, much of South America, the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, the Arctic and Antarctica. That’s because, unlike a solar eclipse – which is visible from a relatively smaller part of Earth each time – every lunar eclipse is visible from the entire hemisphere of Earth facing the moon while the eclipse is taking place.
The moon will look plenty full as it lights up the eastern sky at nightfall March 22, but it’ll actually be a waxing gibbous moon. The moon turns precisely full on March 23 at 12:01 Universal Time. At U.S. time zones, that translates to 8:01 a.m. EDT, 7:01 a.m. CDT, 6:01 a.m. MDT and 5:01 a.m. PDT.
there is a parallel timeline that needs to be mentioned regarding this study of the Purim Blood Moon eclipse and the Transit of Mercury. The Feast of Purim on the 23rd of March occurring on a Penumbral Blood Moon is based on the Jewish calendar. However, if one uses the Torah Calendar, the entire year synchronizes to an alternative correspondence with other eclipses that mirror the pattern of eclipses that occurred on YHVH’s Feast days in 2015.
The Torah Calendar has Passover occurring on this Blood Moon on the 23rd of March. Shavuot or Passover is on May 14 and the New Year or Rosh HaShanah is on the 1st of September in which an Annular solar eclipse occurs. 15 days later, Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles occurs also on a Blood Moon as were the case in 2015. The Torah Calendar is 1 among several colanders that for sure complicates the matter and what is the ‘true’ time that YHVH is going off of. The following are the Feasts of YHVH based on this alternative day-count that appears to be a month off or is it the other way around?
Torah Calendar 2016
Purim Feb 25
Passover Mar 23 Blood Moon eclipse
Shavuot May 14
Rosh HaShanah Sep 01 Annual solar eclipse
Sukkot Sep 15 Blood Moon eclipse
Rabbinical (Hebrew) Calendar 2016 currently used
Purim Mar 23 Blood Moon eclipse
Passover Apr 22
Shavuot Jun 11
Rosh HaShanah Oct 02
Sukkot Oct 16
“The Book of Esther,” is the scroll that tells the Purim story. Listen to the public reading twice: once on Purim night, and again on Purim day. This year, that’s Wednesday night, March 23, and Thursday day, March 24, 2016.
Wednesday, March 23
• As the stars come out this week, Jupiter and Sirius are the two brightest points in the sky — Jupiter in the east-southeast, Sirius toward the south. They’ll be at exactly the same height right around nightfall for those of us near latitude 40° north (for example Denver, New York, Madrid). If you’re south of there they balance a little later; north of there, a little earlier.
Thursday, March 24
• The Moon, two days past full, rises in the east-southeast around the end of twilight and climbs through the rest of the evening. Spot Spica about 4° to its lower right (for North America), and brighter Arcturus almost 30° to the Moon’s upper left.
Friday, March 25
• By about 11 p.m. the bowl of the Big Dipper stands upside down high in the north-northeast, straight over the bowl of the dim Little Dipper as if dumping water into it. They do the reverse in the fall.
Saturday, March 26
• The huge, bright Winter Hexagon is still in view after dark, filling the sky to the southwest and west. Start with brilliant Sirius in the southwest, the Hexagon’s lower left corner. High above Sirius is Procyon. From there look even higher for Pollux and Castor, right from Castor to Menkalinen and bright Capella, lower left to Aldebaran, lower left to Rigel at the bottom of Orion, and back to Sirius.
YouTube videographer Leak Project with his latest updates on global government and their still-ongoing preparation for something huge with underground cities still being built and established to the tune of trillions of dollars. We’re also given more proof that all of the preparation that we have been witnessing across the world is quite likely for very good reason. Is ‘global government’ now preparing for Earthly cataclysm? .
On March 20, residents of Chenzhou, a city located in the south of Hunan Province, reported a 15-minute shower of egg-sized hailstones.
Pictures posted on social media showed streets covered with enormous pieces of ice and slush.
To sum up: Antichrist Communist China car sales crash by most on record (boom goes the overseas growth meme), US existing home sales plunge most in 6 years (boom goes the domestic housing strength supporting consumption meme), Williams and Lockhart go full hawk-tard (positing April as “live” and suggesting everything is hawkishly awesome), and one of our most succeesful ‘innovative’ tech firms unveils the worst product launch ever… and investors buy stocks with both hands and feet….
Over the past decade, we’ve been told that inflation has been tame — actually below the target the Federal Reserve would like to see. But if that’s true, then why does the average household find it harder and harder to get by?
The ugly reality is that the true annual cost of living is far outpacing the governments reported inflation rate. By nearly 10x in many parts of the country.
This week, we welcome Ed Butowsky, developer of the Chapwood Index, to the program. His index is a ‘real world’ measure of how prices are increasing much faster than the wages of the 99% can afford.
Back in early February, Zero Hedge laid out what was the biggest crisis facing Canada’s banks: a chronic under reserving to potential (and soon, realized) oil and gas loan losses.
As we said nearly two months ago, “for Canada, it’s not only raining, it’s pouring for the country’s energy industry, a downpour which is about to migrate into its banking sector. Which is why it is indeed time to take a somewhat deeper dive into the Canadian banks’ balance sheets, where we find something very troubling, and something which prompts us to wonder if the time of freaking out about European banks is about to be replaced with comparable panic about Canadian banks.
The following chart from an analysis by RBC shows that when compared to US banks’ (artificially low) reserves for oil and gas exposure, Canadian banks are…not. Here is the one chart showing why the time to panic about Canadian banks may have finally arrived:
Two months later, we are happy to announce that Canada’s regulator has caught up to our warning, and as the WSJ reported, “Canada’s banking regulator is urging the country’s major banks to review their accounting practices to ensure they have sufficient reserves as the commodity-price collapse takes a toll on the economy.”
As we first suggested in early February, Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is now warning local lenders should scrutinize their collective allowances and reserve funds that act as cushions to absorb potential future loan losses, the regulator’s chief said in an interview.
“We want them to take a good look at their accounting practices,” said Superintendent of Financial Institutions Jeremy Rudin. “They should support loss-absorbing capacity and the ability to manage through difficult times in general,” he added.
Next, the WSJ summarizes the details of what is known about Canadian loan exposure:
Energy loans totaled 49.7 billion Canadian dollars ($38.2 billion) for the country’s six biggest banks during the November-to-January quarter, according to a report by TD Securities Inc. Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third-largest bank by assets, has the biggest direct oil and gas exposure at 3.6% of total loans.
Some analysts are skeptical about the lenders’ reserving practices in part because U.S. banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., have set aside millions more for their reserves as they brace for bigger energy-related losses.
Mr. Rudin declined to say whether Canadian banks are under-reserved compared with their U.S. peers. Nor did he offer an opinion on whether analysts voicing such criticisms were misinformed.
Actually, that is only half the picture: as we explained in “The Next Cockroach Emerges: Including Undrawn Loans, Canadian Banks Exposure To Oil Doubles” if one includes undrawn (but committed) bank exposure, the number doubles. Indeed, when adding “untapped loans in the form of undrawn revolvers and other committed but unused credit facilities, Canadian banks’ exposure to the struggling oil-and-gas industry more than doubles from the current C$50 billion in outstanding loans generally highlighted by Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and the country’s four other large lenders in quarterly earnings calls and presentations, to C$107 billion ($80 billion).”
We expect the WSJ to catch up with this critical angle of the story in the next 4-weeks, one which would imply the all-in loss reserves are about 50% lower than the already alarming estimates. For now, however, what we do know is that most banks declined to comment, including on how they have responded to the regulator’s guidance. “We have no comment on this specifically, but are confident in our current provisioning practices,” said Ali Duncan Martin, a spokeswoman for Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada’s No. 2 lender by assets, in an email.
For their part, Canad’s banks did what they also do: float in a sea of denial. A spokeswoman for an industry group representing the lenders, the Canadian Bankers Association, said that Canadian banks aren’t under-reserved. Well, they clearly are, but admitting as much would unleash the market’s realization just how wrong its valuation of Canadian banks has been.
Not only are Canadian banks under-reserved, they are also purposefully opaque to prevent investors from making a comprehensive health assessment:
Canadian banks tend to disclose their energy exposures as a percentage of total loans, but it is difficult to make a direct comparison with U.S. lenders. For instance, Canadian portfolios include large amounts of insured residential loans that are essentially risk-free because they are backstopped by the federal government.
Canada’s banks have also been criticized by analysts for providing varying degrees of detail about their energy lending books—such as the proportion of reserve-based loans and the amount considered “investment grade”—and about their stress-testing of loan portfolios.
“I’m concerned about this,” said James Shanahan, an equity analyst with Edward Jones, in a recent interview. “The banks aren’t really saying a whole lot about the true underlying quality of these [energy] portfolios,” he later added. He’s among the analysts calling on Canadian banks to provide more disclosure on their energy exposure, including how much covenant relief is being provided to distressed borrowers.
He almost certainly won’t get it, unless for some reason, the Dallas Fed make it explicit that Canadian banks have to be more transparent in a few weeks when bank borrowing base redeterminations are made in negotiations which will include not only Canadian and US commercial banks, but the Dallas Fed as well as the US OCC.
That could prove to be a key issue in the spring borrowing base redeterminations. Mr. Rudin declined to specify what role, if any, OSFI would play in those upcoming reviews, saying only banks are expected to have a “robust credit assessment process” that is frequently reviewed by the regulator. Issues, such as covenant relief, are “business decisions” best left to the individual banks, he added.
We can tell Mr. Rudin what will happen: the OSFI will play the same role that the US OCC played in recent preliminary, if quite definitive, discussions between US lenders and shale producers, the same discussions which the Dallas Fed denied ever took place even though both Credit Suisse and the WSJ confirmed our story: discussions which made it clear to US banks not to force defaults, but to suspend MTM until the local lenders can force the underlying company to issue debt (just like Weatherford) and use the proceeds to take out the secured lender bank.
Expect precisely the same in Canada over the next few months as Canada’s lenders are told to quietly, if aggressively, unwind their exposure to all Canadian oil and gas companies.