US Economic Sanctions Against Russia Brings In Germany

The most recent US economic sanctions against Russia has angered our ally Germany. The planned new US sanctions are set to hit German and European companies which have business interests in Russia. The German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries asked the European Commission to consider countermeasures against the United States for increasing sanctions against Russia that would potentially hit European companies.

Germany said something I told viewers yesterday. The US sanctions against Russia are illegal. The US Congress doesn’t care about legalities. It was illegal for John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and other globalist congressmen to use tax payers money to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine. You think Congress cares about legalities? Congress considers themselves the “law makers” and so the law is what they say it is. That’s why even the SEC can’t touch Congress members for illegal insider trading that private citizens would have gone to jail over.

German Economic Minister Brigitte Zypries told a German newspaper, “We consider this to be a violation of international law. The Americans cannot punish German companies because they operate economically in another country. There are (partnerships) for natural gas and petroleum pipelines (in the region).”

Germany and much of the EU are heavily dependent on Russian natural gas, and German companies working on gas pipelines fear they could be hit with US sanctions because of Congress’ latest move.

Economic Sanctions Against Russia

Sanctions against Russia for defending itself in Ukraine against US based NGOs is misguided policy that will ultimately push Russia into a tighter alliance with China, Syria, Iran, and North Korea.

On July 21, 2017, the White House announced that President Trump will sign into law a bill on the latest set of sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. Congress forced Trump’s hand because of the overwhelming support of sanctions against Russia. Congress passed the Russian sanctions bill with a veto-proof majority of 419-3 in the House and 98-to-2 in the Senate. President Trump needs to delay signing this law and instead take his case to the American people that it’s Congress, and not his Administration, that is on the marching path towards war with Russia.

Did the President make a deal with the devil to get Establishment globalists to leave his family alone in exchange for signing these sanctions against Russia? The timing seems suspect that Democrats would end the Senate Russia investigation right as new sanctions against Russia are passed.

President Putin has not given up on President Trump entirely but the New York Times writes that the way this is playing out in Russia is that US sanctions against Russia are a gift to Mr. Putin.

President Trump has an awesome opening now to take a leadership role in bringing about better relations with Russia by rejecting the new sanctions imposed against Russia by Congress.

These increased sanctions are so dumb and were not really thought out carefully. The problem is that the US has only limited trade with Russia in the first place because of previous sanctions. So to have any meaningful effect on Russia, US sanctions can’t target Russia directly but instead must target Russia’s trading partners like Germany.

Targeting German energy importers is another stupid move by Congress that could be dangerous as the EU doesn’t have any good alternatives to trade with Russia. Obviously Germany will move to protect their trade interests, irrespective of America’s wishes.

Are Sanctions Hurting Russia?

In 2015, sanctions pushed Russia’s economy into a recession with a negative GDP growth of -2.2% for the first quarter of 2015, as compared to the first quarter of 2014. Sanctions on access to financing have forced Russia to use part of its foreign exchange reserves to prop up the economy.

How do you explain to the people of Russia why the US is targeting them and putting them out of work simply because Russia defended itself against US NGOs which toppled the government of Ukraine? The optics are horrible.

Sure the latest round of sanctions imposed by Congress will hurt Russia but they will also hurt many other countries and hence our relationship with many of our allies.

Dmitri Abzalov writes in his analytical article for Russia’s online newspaper Gazeta.ru:

“Their [EU] investment share varies from 30 percent to 70 percent depending on each particular project. A possible cut off in financing will mean a serious blow to European business.”

Map of the major existing and proposed Russian natural gas transportation pipelines to europe. By Samuel Bailey (sam.bailus@gmail.com) (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Blue Stream natural gas pipeline is a target of the new sanctions by Congress. Blue Stream is a major Black Sea gas pipeline that carries natural gas from Turkey to Russia. The pipeline is being constructed by a joint venture between Russia’s Gazprom and Italy’s Eni.

The new sanctions also will impact the expansion of Sakhalin-2, Russia’s LNG plant which is operated in a partnership between Japan’s Mitsubishi and Mitsui, Gazprom, and Royal Dutch Shell. Another target could be the Baltic Liquefied Natural Gas project, which is also operated by Gazprom and Royal Dutch Shell.

The sanctions also will impact the Nord Stream-2 project expansion into Germany making Germany an energy hub. If the project stops because of new US sanctions, Germany will have to give up on its dream of becoming an energy superpower as it will not be allowed to sell natural gas to Eastern Europe.

Of course the US, who is imposing these sanctions, are telling the EU that we have natural gas they can purchase. However, if the EU opts for American gas, the cost of production in Europe will increase considerably, which will be passed on in the cost of manufactured products. Germans will then be at a competitive disadvantage to cheaper goods manufactured in the US.

What about Japan? Japan has already agreed to invest in Russia’s Kuril Islands, what will it do now?

An interesting side note about the effectiveness of sanctions against Russia. When sanctions were imposed on Russia in 2015, it crashed the country’s currency which gave Russian wheat a price advantage over US wheat. The weakening Ruble allowed Russia to become the world’s #1 exporter of wheat last year. US wheat farmers were not too happy about that.

Current Sanctions On Russia

US sanctions currently against Russia specifically target Russia’s energy sector, which makes up more than half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. No U.S. oil company can do business with Russia, nor can any companies sell drilling technology needed to access oil and gas reserves.

U.S. banks cannot issue long-term loans to Russian businesses for energy-focused projects.

European banks are also prohibited from engaging in similar financing arrangements with Russia. The European Union has also sanctioned Moscow which has pushed Russian companies to borrow money from Beijing. Beijing has become the biggest lender to Russian companies.

All of this is designed to weaken a key sector of Russia’s economy in hopes the pressure will entice Putin, over time, to reverse his annexation of Crimea and to withdraw Russian troops and its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The US State.gov website shows the current sanctions against Russia:

Executive Order 13660, signed on March 6, 2014, authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people. These sanctions put in place restrictions on the travel of certain individuals and officials and showed our continued efforts to impose a cost on Russia and those responsible for the situation in Crimea.

Executive Order 13685 was also issued. Utilizing these Executive Orders, the United States has steadily increased the diplomatic and financial costs of Russia’s aggressive actions towards Ukraine. We have designated a number of Russian and Ukrainian entities, including 14 defense companies and individuals in Putin’s inner circle, as well as imposed targeted sanctions limiting certain financing to six of Russia’s largest banks and four energy companies.

These actions, in close coordination with our EU and international partners, send a strong message to the Russian government that there are consequences for their actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The United States, together with international partners, will continue to stand by the Ukrainian government until Russia abides by its international obligations. The United States is prepared to take additional steps to impose further political and economic costs. A secure Ukraine, integrated with Europe and enjoying good relations with all its neighbors, is in the interests of the United States, Europe, and Russia.

Conclusion

With Germany asking the EU to use countermeasure sanctions against the US for what it deems as illegal sanctions, a whole new level of potential conflicts and countries re-examining their relationships with the US is taking place.

The mess that we are currently in can be traced back to the Obama Administration, John McCain, and other Congress members working with George Soros to destabilize and overthrow the elected government of Ukraine.

Think of what is happening like a game of Chess. When you make a wrong move, your game slowly falls apart as every move after that initial wrong move cascades into a loss.

That’s what happens when you do something wrong. People take sides against you.

The only way out of this mess is for the US to admit it was wrong to overthrow the elected leader of Ukraine and to apologize to the people of Ukraine and Russia and to end all sanctions immediately.

What good is it that President Trump didn’t take lobbyists money in his run for the White House, if he’s constantly being manipulated by Congress who is controlled by lobbyists money? President Trump can take a leadership role in fighting against big oil and natural gas lobbyists in Congress by doing everything in his power to walk back sanctions against Russia and to improve relations with the country before it’s too late.

Putin has retaliated against the US by kicking out 755 US diplomats from Russia. Putin finally showed a crack in his maneuvering with is an opportunity for President Trump to push into that crack and take a leadership role in improving relations with Russia before it’s too late.

I was raised in the “nuclear family” as many of you were. I remember how life was under the Cold War and the constant threat of a nuclear war with Russia. Anybody actually living through that time should be fighting hard to prevent backsliding into another Cold War and nuclear arms race with Russia.

Do you have any thoughts on Germany asking the EU to use counter-sanctions against us? Leave your comments below.

Beijing Says Apple iPhone Violates Its Patents LOL!

June 17, 2016: Reportedly Apple iPhones were found to have violated Chinese rival’s parent LOL. That’s rich folks. The king of patent rip-offs China, who allowed fake iPhones to be sold for years, is now accusing Apple of violating China patents. So much for big-cheese Tim Cook’s visit to China recently.

iPhone 6 and 6-plus models infringe on patent rights owned by Shenzhen Baili because of similarities to its 100c phone, the Beijing intellectual property office wrote in its decision.

Apple can appeal the ruling and could be allowed to continue selling its phones during the process.

Original source to Beijing intellectual property office filing (in Chinese): http://www.bjipo.gov.cn/zlzf/zfjggg/201605/P020160609372965002381.pdf

More Apple News

June 13, 2016: Apple Inc’s annual rate of iPhones sales said to decline for the first time in 2016. iPhone annual shipments to fall for first time since 2007 this year due to lukewarm demand for a new model with shipments seen between 210-220 million.

Reminder: At the beginning of the year, Nikkei reported that Apple could lower its production of iPhone 6 by more than expected in the Jan-Mar quarter. In mid-April, Nikkei reported Apple would sustain its lower rate of production in the April-June quarter. On May 11th, Nikkei reported that Taiwan tech suppliers expected significantly fewer orders from Apple in the second half of 2016.

May 22, 2016: Apple Inc rumored to have requested up to 78 million units of iPhone 7 production from suppliers according to the Taiwan press. This is the highest in 2 years.

Apple Inc Industry sources indicating that chip orders from Apple in Q2 have been disappointing on year over year basis according to a report in the DigiTimes. Report adding there is no sign of a substantial rise in chip orders in Q3 despite the expected launch of the new iPhone.

Apple CEO Cook has met with India PM Modi. The talks addressed cybersecurity and data encryption, along with Apple’s plans for possibilities of manufacturing in India. This was CEO Cook’s first trip to India.

May 16, 2016: Berkshire Hathaway discloses latest quarterly holdings; new stake in Apple of 9.8 million shares according to a new 13 F-HR filing. CNBC reports the Apple stake was not taken by Warren Buffet himself, but by one of his lieutenants.

May 12, 2016: Apple Inc to invest $1 billion in China’s Didi Chuxing (direct competitor of Uber). Didi Chuxing announced today important progress in its latest fundraising round. Among a group of prestigious Chinese and international institutions, Apple has invested USD$1 billion in DiDi, creating the single largest investment the Company has ever received. Through this investment, Apple becomes a strategic investor of DiDi, and joins Tencent, Alibaba and other key supporters to help further DiDi’s mission of building a data-driven rideshare platform to serve hundreds of millions of Chinese drivers and passengers. Building on its data mining and analysis capabilities, DiDi now completes over 11 million rides a day on its platform, serving close to 300 million users across over 400 Chinese cities with a diverse range of mobile technology-based transportation options. DiDi works with over 14 million Chinese car-owners and drivers, holding over 87% market share in private car-hailing and over 99% market share in taxi-hailing.

– Follow Up: Apple investment said to boost Didi fundraising to $3.0B – financial press

May 06, 2016: Apple CEO Tim Cook is planning a visit to China this month to meet with Senior Chinese government officials in Beijing. On April 26th Apple Q2 earnings had a -26% decline in Greater China (steepest drop among the five regions). Apple is expected to take its latest trademark dispute over the iPhone name to China’s Supreme Court. Currently Xintong is allowed to use iPhone mark on goods.

China is trying to copy popular products in the US by ripping off their trademarks and technology. This is why the story of China’s economic power is a joke. China is a copycat, a poser if you will and that means their economy is built on a deck of cards. Their communism form of government does not foster an environment that allows the people of China to be able to intellectually compete with people from the US. This is why I seldom, if ever, invest in China. China’s economy has gotten where it’s at today by intellectual property and technology theft. That, my friends, is a house of cards waiting to collapse.

CEO Tim Cook should tell China that if they don’t enforce international trademark and IP laws, Apple will no longer make iPhone parts in China which will put thousands of Chinese people out of work.

May 03, 2016: In an earnings conference call, Greenlight’s Einhorn says he continues to hold stake in Apple Inc. and sees great value in the Apple brand.

May 1, 2016: It’s a good time to take a position in Apple imo. With the earnings and revenue miss last week, the stock has overreacted to the downside.

Folks, Apple is a buy while there’s blood-in-the-streets play. Check out the recent carnage:

– Goldman Sachs removed Apple from its Conviction Buy list
– Carl Icahn dumped the stock
– Barclay’s cut its price target
– Morgan Stanley cut its price target
– Oppenheimer cuts Apple stock to a Perform rating, from Outperform
– Nomura cut its price target
– Drexel Hamilton cut its price target

What caused all this ruckus?

Last Tuesday, Aprill 26, 2016, Apple reported Q2 2016 EPS of $1.90 versus the $1.97 estimate. Revenue also missed coming in at $50.6 billion versus the $52.2 billion estimate. Apple also lowered its Q3 revenue guidance to $41 – $43 billion versus the previous guidance of $45.8 billion.

iPhone shipments came in at 51.2 million versus 61.2 million from the previous year. iPad shipments also fell, coming in at 10.3 million versus the 12.6 million from the previous year. Mac shipments fell to 4 million versus the 4.6 million from the previous year.

Not only do I think that traders overreacted to the earnings report, there are two catalysts in-play.

The first catalyst is Apple’s dividend payable on May 12, 2016 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 9, 2016. Why not capture that dividend if you can?

The second catalyst is the iPhone 7. Apple releases its new phone every year, in the second half of the year. Apple’s stock usually runs up in anticipation of the new release. We may have an opportunity to position early ahead of the seasonal new iPhone run up. There are also rumors that Apple will release more than one phone model this year which may help boost revenue.

Finally, as seen in the chart of Apple below, the stock is oversold and at horizontal support which could make for the last oversold RSI entry we will get before the seasonal iPhone 7 run-up. Just remember, don’t try and catch a falling knife. Look for a candle over candle entry.

Apple Inc. makes mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players. The company also sells related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications.

It offers iPhone, a line of smartphones that comprise a phone, music player, and Internet device; iPad, a line of multi-purpose tablets; Mac, a line of desktop and portable personal computers; iPod, a line of portable digital music and media players, such as iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle; and Apple Watches, personal electronic devices that combine watch technology with an iOS-based user interface.

The company also provides iTunes app and the iTunes Store; Mac App Store that allows customers to discover, download, and install Mac applications; iCloud, a cloud service; Apple Pay for making mobile payments; Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications; iOS and OS X operating systems software; iLife, a consumer-oriented digital lifestyle software application suite; iWork, an integrated productivity suite designed to help users create, present, and publish documents, presentations, and spreadsheets; and other application software, including Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro X, and its FileMaker Pro database software.

In addition, Apple offers various Apple-branded and third-party Mac-compatible and iOS-compatible accessories, including headphones, cases, displays, storage devices, and various other connectivity and computing products and supplies. The company sells and delivers digital content and applications through the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, and Mac App Store; and sells its products through its retail stores, online stores, and direct sales force, as well as through third-party cellular network carriers, wholesalers, retailers, and value-added resellers.