Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Friday, June 6, 2014
Obama demands the world follow his directives ! ( June 6 , 2014 hubris edition ) ...... Obama Tells Scotland Not to Secede From Britain Also Warns Britain Not to Exit the European Union ........ White House Demands China "Account For" Tiananmen Square Victims .........Obama, Cameron Issue Demands, Give Russia One Month Ultimatum US Insists on End to Eastern Ukraine Protests
The comments mark the first direct US intervention in the upcoming referendum, and were quickly criticized by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, saying Scotland only wanted the same independence the US got hundreds of years ago, and that they are fortunate enough to be able to get it through a vote instead of a war of independence.
Obama’s comments insisted the US has an “extraordinary partner” in the United Kingdom, and doesn’t want to see it risked. Salmond said the US could have two partners if Scotland is independent.
The comments are unusually direct, as most nations have tried to avoid direct involvement in the Scottish independence movement, and Obama’s opposition is unlikely to change much, except giving it more publicity.
Such meddling appears to be common for Obama, and in the same conference he warned Britain against leaving the European Union, insisting the US wants Britain to remain in the EU to “ensure prosperity.”
White House Demands China "Account For" Tiananmen Square Victims
Just as the cyber-spat is off the headlines for a day... and no one from Treasury has discussed the need for the Renminbi to strengthen... The White House drops another well-timed China shot, calling on Chinese authorities to account for those killed, detained or missing in connection with the military assault on pro-democracy demonstrators at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. Diplomatically, this could be a little awkward as China forbids public acknowledgment of the anniversary in the state-run media and censors the Internet to wipe away both direct and indirect references to the crackdown.
The tally of dead, injured, jailed, executed and missing from the army action has been contentious for 25 years. Chinese authorities initially said the death toll was 23 students and 300 soldiers, but other estimates have ranged into the thousands. The Tiananmen Mothers advocacy group has painstakingly identified 202 victims by name.
A 2005 study in the Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs concluded that at least 3,000 deaths in Beijing was a likely tally based on available sources.
“The United States will always speak out in support of the basic freedoms the protestors at Tiananmen Square sought, including the freedom of expression, the freedom of the press, and the freedoms of association and assembly,” the White House statement said. “These freedoms -- which are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the Chinese Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- are values the United States champions around the world.”
China forbids public acknowledgment of the anniversary in the state-run media and censors the Internet to wipe away both direct and indirect references to the crackdown. Chinese leaders routinely reject criticism of the government’s human rights record by U.S. officials, calling any such reports hypocritical and offering their own counter-assessments of human rights shortcomings in the United States.
“The American people and government applaud China’s extraordinary social and economic progress over the past three decades and value good relations with the Chinese people and government,” the White House added Wednesday. “Even as we continue our cooperation on areas of common interest, the United States will continue to be clear about our differences, and urge the Chinese government to guarantee the universal rights and fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of all Chinese citizens.”
We await China's response... perhaps a Bergdahl reference?
Continuing to escalate tensions with Russia, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron today laid out an ultimatum, giving Russia’s President Putin a series of demands he has to meet by the end of a month or face major sanctions.
The new “thresholds” are familiar demands, including blocking all arms from crossing the border into Ukraine, ending all public support for the ethnic Russian protesters in the eastern portion of Ukraine, and “recognizing Petro Poroshenko’s election as the new leader in Ukraine.”
The last demand is particularly bizarre, because Russia already recognized the election virtually as soon as the results came in, and has been pushing for talks with Poroshenko on ending the violence in the east.
The State Department has made clear that the current sanctions will remain in case no matter what Russia does, and that there isn’t even a consideration of a deal to end the growing sanctions war. Rather, the ultimatum offers a choice between the status quo of sanctions or further escalation at a faster pace
On a rhetorical front, the State Department also made clear that under no circumstances would the US ever consider the situation in Ukraine a “civil war,” arguing that they believe the whole eastern situation is Russia’s fault and that therefore it can’t be an internal conflict.
Bloomberg - Obama mexplains when he doesn't meddle !
BNP Executive Firings Sought by Top New York Bank Regulator Amid Probe
New York’s top banking regulator,Benjamin Lawsky, is pressing BNP Paribas SA (BNP) to dismiss one of its top executives as part of settlement negotiations with the U.S. over alleged sanctions violations, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Lawsky wants the bank to remove Chief Operating Officer Georges Chodron de Courcel, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Lawsky is also seeking the departure of another senior executive and about 12 other bank employees, the person added. Chodron de Courcel and the others haven’t been accused of wrongdoing.
U.S. authorities are said to be seeking as much as $10 billion -- a record criminal penalty -- over BNP’s dealings in sanctioned countries including Sudan and Iran. Lawsky has said that individuals, not just companies, must be held accountable to deter future wrongdoing. He also wants to suspend BNP’s dollar-clearing operations in New York, which has become a sticking point in the negotiations, a person familiar with the matter has said.
Bertrand Cizeau, a spokesman for BNP, declined to comment or to make Chodron de Courcel available for comment. Caitlin Ferrell, a spokeswoman for Lawsky, also declined to comment.
Chodron de Courcel, 64, is one of three chief operating officers at the bank and has overseen corporate and investment banking for more than a decade. He is also the chairman of BNP’s Geneva-based unit, which has been a focus of the investigation, people familiar with the matter have said. Chodron de Courcel’s term as COO expires in the spring of 2016 at the latest, according to BNP’s statute. The board of directors can remove a COO at any time, according to the statute.
BNP declined 1.1 percent to 50.91 euros by 9:45 a.m. in Paris trading, valuing the bank at 63.4 billion euros ($86.5 billion). The stock is down 10 percent this year, compared with a 4.6 percent gain in the 43-company Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index.
A $10 billion fine could more than wipe out this year’s earnings for BNP, estimated at 5.64 billion euros by analysts. It would also represent more than three times the combined fines paid by HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA),Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) and ING Groep NV in 2012 for sanctions violations.
Concern over the size of the fines under discussion for BNP and its potential impact on the French economy and financial system led President Francois Hollande to raise the issue with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama at a dinner in Paris last night. Obama had told reporters earlier in the day in Brussels that “the tradition of the United States is that the president does not meddle in prosecutions.”