Banks cannot be allowed, at any cost, to suffer the consequences of their own mismanagement, or worse.
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.
Italy holds a constitutional referendum on Sunday. Europe is sick and tired of national referendums, in the opinion of Jean Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission. Over the past week, Juncker has urged EU leaders not to hold more referendums as he fears that other European electorates may take a leaf out of the UK’s book and vote to leave:
“Regarding referenda on EU membership, I think it is not wise to organize this kind of debate, not only because I might be concerned about the final result but because this will pile more controversy onto the huge number already present at the heart of the EU.”
It’s not hard to understand Juncker’s distaste for referenda: the EU has been on the losing end of just about every popular vote of this fledgling century. Whenever people in Europe have been given the rare opportunity to vote on Brussels-related business, they invariably vote against Brussels. In fact, the only vote the EU has won this century was in Ireland in 2009, and that was only after the people had first voted against the Treaty of Lisbon. It was the wrong answer and voters were politely invited to reconsider. Or else.
Next up for the EU establishment is Italy’s constitutional referendum on Sunday. The vote on the Renzi government’s proposed constitutional reforms would, in normal circumstances, be a virtual non-event beyond Italian borders, if it weren’t for two key factors:
- Italian premier Matteo Renzi’s pledge, repeated multiple times (albeit, ironically, not so much recently), that he would resign if the constitutional reforms are not passed. Renzi’s resignation threat was gingerly confirmed on Friday by Italy’s Transport Minister Graziano Delrio.
- Italy’s blossoming banking crisis, which poses an existential threat to Europe’s closely integrated, highly vulnerable, contagion-prone financial system.
It is the banking crisis that has Brussels most worried. As Italy’s finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan admitted on Thursday, if the vote goes against Renzi, the resultant political uncertainty would make it even more difficult to raise capital, putting at risk as many as eight mid-sized financial institutions, all of which are already at or beyond the brink of solvency.
They include Monte dei Paschi di Siena, home to an estimated 35% of Italy’s €360 billion of non-performing loans. The bank, whose shares are now worth less than €0.20, has failed spectacularly to come up with a convincing plan to steady its finances, despite all the creative assistance it’s received from Wall Street’s biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, and Italy’s most influential investment bank Mediobanca.
MPS has managed to persuade bondholders to swap their holdings for shares, at roughly 20 cents on the euro. But the second part of the rescue plan involves issuing new shares worth almost 10 times its current market cap. An ‘anchor investor’ (such as Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund) taking a large bloc would be the ideal solution, since most smaller investors have already been burnt in two previous capital expansions.
But even big-time investors with more money than sense, or hoping to call in big favors at a later stage, will be hard to find if the referendum leaves the country without a government. In such an event, a caretaker government would have little choice but to carry out a highly sensitive ‘bail-in’ of junior bondholders, including many small-scale retail investors who were criminally “missold” complex financial instruments during the liquidity-starved days of Italy’s sovereign debt crisis. In the worst case scenario, a bail-in of MPS could become the catalyst of a system-wide bank run.
To avoid that outcome, every effort will be made to keep MPS from crumbling under the weight of its own toxic debt load, even if that means bending or breaking the rules of Europe’s sacred bail-in legislation before they’ve been put into use. As Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported on Friday, Italy is in last-gasp negotiations with the European Commission over the terms of a state bailout of MPS. The taxpayer funded-rescue has already been requested and could be launched as early as next week, “if needed” (ha!).
It would just mean having to apply the rules “with greater flexibility,” sources told Reuters. It’s a beautiful way of saying “break the iron-clad rules we ourselves created to prevent such a possibility.”
And that is just the beginning. Another thing we can expect to happen — since they’ve already warned us it’s going to happen: the ECB will massively expand its bond buying binge in the event of a “no” vote. Arguably Europe’s most powerful supranational institution could use (or expand) its €80-billion monthly bond-buying program “to counter any immediate, further spike in bond yields after the vote, smoothing market moves and supporting bonds”, four unnamed euro zone central bank sources told Reuters.
In other words, the fix is already in. Every effort will now be made not only to steady the ship and dampen fears of financial contagion but also to use the political crisis as cover for channeling vast sums of overt and covert taxpayer-funded assistance to a financial sector that cannot be allowed — at any cost — to suffer the consequences of its own chronic mismanagement, or worse. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.
Short-sellers have a field day with Spain’s “Most Italian Bank.” Read… Crunch Time for “Zombie Bank… Permanently on the Brink of Collapse”
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After Mnuchin, I think Goldman Sachs is due for another win?
” But the second part of the rescue plan involves issuing new shares worth almost 10 times its current market cap.”
We’ve seen a movie like this before. “Citigroup was able to ax a huge number of shares outstanding by turning every 10 shares into a single share.”
And remember, Citigroup was bailed out to the tune of $2.513 trillion.
Citibank need the most money, but it was less than 500B.
“Citibank need the most money, but it was less than 500B.”
Petunia, my source is the $2.513 trillion figure is the GAO. What’s yours?
march 16, 2011
The 2.5T was the cumulative outstanding balances over time. Not a real debt amount. The same as adding your bank balance every month over time. It doesn’t mean you have that much money or owe that much.
A reverse stock split was done to increase the share price because some exchanges will not list stocks that go under a certain amount for more than 30 days. The limit is usually $1 but can differ.
Thank you for this excellent column re.Italy. I don’t want to be a “nit-picking” person, but the Irish were forced to vote THREE times re. the EU referendum. Also the second time, they voted ” no “. Still Brussels was not ” happy ” and they told the nice Irish voters ” their lights were going out “. The third round of voting resulted in a ” yes “. That was the result Brussels wanted and no more voting was required. Democracy EU style!
Watch the outcome sunday in Italy and Austria!
As Wolf likes to observe, the beatings will continue until moral improves!!
Thanks for the stroll down amnesia lane! I love it when people live with their eyes wide open.
“Citibank need the most money, but it was less than 500B.”
Petunia, my source is the GAO. What’s yours?
It is quite confusing at to the total cost .Here is another ,29 trillion
We throw the word trillion around like it is just another value Here is what it looks like.
No matter how the baloney (or Mortradella ) is sliced, “rescue” of the Italian banking system solves nothing.
Whether “bail-in” and/or EU/Italian taxpayer funded rescue, the prudent savers again take it on the shin, while the incompetent and/or criminal banksters and their enablers/cronies drive off in their Mercedes, Ferrari, etc. to their super yachts, for a long cruse in international waters to countries with no Italian extradition treaties.
IMNSHO, far better to collapse the “house of cards” now, before it grows, conduct massive forensic audits, and as indicated prosecute to the maximum extent possible, with as much of the funds and other assets confiscated from those convicted as proceeds from criminal activity. Such draconian actions will of course not recover even a small fraction of the stolen/dissipated assets, but will prevent those responsible from enjoying the fruits of their crimes as well as discouraging others from engaging in such criminal activity. This is particularly true of the elected and appointed officials who aided and abetted in this massive theft.
The biggest threat to European and America are the voters!
not saying there hasn’t been any incompetence on display in the Italian banking system, but when the real economy hardly grows for 17 years and inflation and interest rates have been close to zero for going on 10 years, the best bankers in the world would struggle to stay solvent
I don’t know. Those low interest rates are banks expenses not income. They can borrow at zero, and charge 20% on credit cards. They ought to be making a bundle.
People in Italy use cash, credit cards are considered an extravaganza for the few. And relatively few people have a mortgage.
For Italian banks, it really boils down to government bonds and loans to businesses.
I will be raising a glass of Chianti Riserva tonight to the people of Italy were i have spent some of the best times of my Life! A No Vote will hopefully hasten the final collapse of the Globalist Dream that is the “Euro Zone”,a Dream that has a unelected Drunk as Figure Head,convinced he is the King of Europe. watch him in Action at a Conference in Riga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fASN9oYGdw As the “Populist” Wave is sweeping the globe,things will get interesting to say the least. But have no Fear,Gold Man Sachs and JPM have Contingency Plans for either Outcome,their job is to make Money,and they’re “flexible”,busy installing their people on a global Scale. Cin Cin!
This particular event, will be a snoozer. However, the elite are sitting up and taking notice so we need more than ever for the majority to fully comprehend the scam they’ve been running for decades now.
“This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here, and we’ll do the rest
This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end.”
Ah the Doors,a true Poet that Man was….
She waits for each and other.
She waits for all men born.
Forgets the earth, her mother,
The life of fruits and corn.
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer songs ring hollow,
And flowers are put to scorn.
This song brings to mind the movie “Apocalypse Now” and Martin Sheen’s character Captain Willard’s insightful statement that “The war was being run by a bunch of four star clowns who were gonna end up giving the whole circus away.”
Just substitute “The global financial system” for “The war”.
We didn’t have these problems when the financial industry was regulated.
So the solution is to regulate the financial industry until it has been reduced to the status of a cheap utility. Is. It should be obvious that allowing it to operate as an malevolent bubble-crash-extraction monstrosity really hasn’t worked out all that well.
We’d all be far better off. Except for Wolf and The Don. What would they have to write about?
Don’t underestimate stupididy of politicians. There will always be enough material to write about :-)
Absolutely. Stupid politicians is a deep well to be pumped.
Declaring insanity is an easy out politicians are counting on you to make this mistake. No, when will you ever accept the reality is they’re corrupt? Only then, we can move on to cleaning up the festering mess.
Always remember that big business loves regulation. In fact the more and tighter, the better.
As Ron Dennis, former owner of the McLaren F1 team, said about racing “I know this will surprise many people but tighter rules always end up favoring the most lavishly funded outfits”.
The financial industry is as tightly regulated as it has never been. During your next trip to the bank to, say, buy bonds or next time you renew your life insurance take a mental note of the number of modules you have to sign (mercifully these days they are mostly pre-filled and ready for you to sign). Chances are it has doubled if not trebled in twenty years. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
What has changed is one very simple thing: accountability.
Just this Friday it was announced Deutsche Bank had settled the latest gold price fixing scandal in New York: it will pay $60 million between reparations to gold traders and a fine. That’s it.
For an entity that’s literally too big to fail that’s not even pocket change. And while obviously somebody at DB must have greenlighted this white collar crime, nobody is going to jail, nobody is being personally fined and nobody will lose his job.
The same could be said about any sector of big business. Just look at Marissa Meyer of Yahoo fame: instead of being simply future-endeavored like many soon to be ex-Yahoo employees, she’s bound to receive a $40+ million severance package by Verizon. Unless this is an ironic reward for putting Yahoo out of its misery, thus facilitating the Verizon takeover, it makes no sense. Like the rest of the Yahoo management she should have been made accountable for failing to turn the company around, meaning no apple pie for her.
I understand most
“The financial industry is as tightly regulated as it has never been.”
And you say this with a straight face do you, expecting people to believe it?
Appearances notwithstanding, governments do not regulate banks. Banks regulate governments.
“The banks — hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.” – Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, in 2009
“Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, in 2009”
The “D” in Democrat stands for DUH, apparently. These are our public servants, they’re supposed to represent us and act on our behalf as opposed to provide lip service and look the other way.
They had their chance and they blew it big time. No doubt on purpose and that’s what we’re still hashing over it seems. Too many are still confused about this latter point which must be comprehended and resolved else status-quo lives in infamy.
“These are our public servants, they’re supposed to represent us and act on our behalf as opposed to provide lip service and look the other way.”
That’s the theory. Unfortunately, it isn’t reality and hasn’t been for quite some time:
The groundbreaking 2014 Princeton University study which got virtually no mass media attention here in the U.S.:
Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.
Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.
In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.
…the preferences of economic elites (as measured by our proxy, the preferences of “affluent” citizens) have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do. To be sure, this does not mean that ordinary citizens always lose out; they fairly often get the policies they favor, but only because those policies happen also to be preferred by the economically-elite citizens who wield the actual influence.
“Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare, they have become the tools of corrupt interests which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.” – *1912* platform of the Progressive Party, founded by former president Theodore Roosevelt
Why has white collar crime gone unpunished while blue-collar crime hasn’t? Monied Interests.
MC has a point. Big corps revolving door into regulatory agencies write rules, to raise the barrier to entry for competitors.
So unimaginative; the Italian government can simply issue greenback euros and use them to retire loans as they become due. As Gertrude Stein famously remarked, “A euro is a euro is a euro!”
Of course this does not solve the greater problems: Italian banks’ insolvency due to their financing italian fuel waste to the tune of 1.1 million barrels of oil every single day including Sundays. Every barrel (almost) is imported with euros borrowed from Frankfurt.
“Vote yes of the lights go out!”
C’mon Rome! Create euros out of thin air … the banks do just that. Pay the Italian army with them and tell Frankfurt crooks to go fuck themselves.
Oh, yeah, get rid of the damned cars. We throw everything into the fire for the cars, the precious, precious cars without which we are lost, with which we are utterly ruined.
“A euro is a euro is a euro!”
Not exactly. Money is fungible. To be quite correct, a rose is a rose is an onion. Which is to say, a stone is a stein is a rock is a boulder is a pebble.
Banks only go bankrupt when the masters of the FIC cartels say they can. Otherwise they do not. It’s a game they play to coerce governments into giving them what they want, which is more. Holding entire national and regional economies hostage makes for most excellent leverage. Their tools are loansharking and extortion, and their usage is highly practiced.
Most people are unaware that the City has a representative in Parliament, whose only purpose is to sit there to provide a silent reminder to the government to not fuck with the City. Or else.
Hmm, not sure if you proof-read. Importing fuel waste?
Currency – qe
Ballots – qe
QE – FTW!
Why do all the comments hope and wish for disaster? The captain and a few rich types went down with the Titanic but the owner and the vast majority of first-class passengers survived, the steerage lot were not so lucky…. And so it will be in any disaster natural, financial or political.
It didn’t work out as well for the rich in the French revolution, but I don’t think it will ever get that dramatic. A more likely scenario is a major wealth redistribution through taxes.
Trump is already proposing a wealth redistribution through regulations and taxes. If he increases jobs and wages for US workers, that’s going to come out of the rich globalist’s pocket.
Yeah, keep brainwashing.
Google : Corporation of the City of London…very interesting.
Bank for International Settlements
Rothschild + Central Banks
As I have said before : FOLLOW THE MONEY !!
Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
The design of the present political / financial system must be fundamentally re-formed because the domestic political and legal system was officially proven dead when Holder refused to criminally prosecute TBTF bank CEOs and his successor has done the same.
It must also be re-formed because, internationally, the US has been a terrorist rogue state for many decades in order to maintain the extortion racket that the US has been imposing on the world to benefit US corporate interests as well as that of all of the US’s citizens who depend upon US government largess in all forms, including SS, Medicare, etc.
In the most practical sense, for whatever you want to call the design of the present system to continue to generate profit for the Elite from its US herd and its world-wide extortion racket, the Elite need to drive a couple of more stakes into the faintly-beating heart of the US “democracy”.
First, as long right to vote still exists, the oligarchy is vulnerable, as the latest election has proven. Elections are REAL opportunities for the bewildered herd to elect someone as the CEO of the government and commander in chief of the military who has not been approved by the Elite. Although peacenik-like sounds have been coming from Trump, it remains to be seen if he will carry through on them and stop the US’s wars of extortion, because he will soon come to understand that millions of members of the bewildered herd would rather have a job and perpetual war rather than live in a time of peace but have no job. So to eliminate the possibility that a true peacenik just might be elected, the Elite must get the herd’s right to vote rescinded, at least “temporarily” (until the global war oF terror is won, the “financial crisis” is over, the national debt is paid off, etc.).
Second, the oligarchs’ TBTF banks need to have a pitchfork-proof lifetime warranty. NIRP, the abolishment of physical cash, a MIC and a 3-branches-of-tyranny government that enforce the will of the Elite through those TBTF banks will be that guarantee.
Society must be made to function solely for the profit / benefit of the Elite’s TBTF banks, not the other way around. Society cannot be allowed to function quite well as it used to before the relatively-recent birth of the so-called TBTF banks. “We” can’t go back to THAT.
What governments and their herds should be discussing today is the design of an alternative, publicly owned banking system — complete with the electronic accoutrements (ATMs, online payments, etc.) of the privately owned, TBTF banks. By doing this now, when the “they should have failed” (TSHF) banks start issuing their ransom demands (or they’ll crash the financial system), there will be a well-thought-out publicly-controlled alternative ready to deal instantly with that inevitability.
“the US has been a terrorist rogue state for many decades in order to maintain the extortion racket that the US has been imposing on the world to benefit US corporate interests ”
Hmm, seems to me you don’t comprehend what’s been happening for the past few decades. The 2% have been calling the shots and running things into the ground by mostly misappropriating the public wealth.
Hopefully you’ll snap out of your brainwashed state eventually as others seem to be doing, finally.
The question that Americans should be attempting to answer is simple. What are the reasons for, and the ultimate purpose of, the US’s perpetual wars?
George Kennan was an influential VIP for many years.
He said the following just a few short years before the end of the Soviet Union. (And since that collapse, his prediction has been proven to be amazingly accurate.)
“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
Could Kennan’s statement possibly be true? Because the Elite and their MSM are proven liars, don’t ask them or read or watch they “broadcast”. You must decide for yourself. And Step 1 is to go to:
and select on the right of the page “Contractors by State”. Select “Virginia” in the drop-down list. Then behold how much future taxpayer money Virginian “private” businesses and their spin-offs are being handed annually by the DoD.
Then check out California, etc. After you have completed the list of remaining states, you will have a good idea of the political importance that those contracts mean to the businesses and people of those states.
The US economy is stuck within a vicious cycle. Because it is perpetual-war-dependent, it must somehow, any way pay for perpetual war (in order to award those hundreds of thousands of DoD contracts to “private” contractors who “just happen” to be spread throughout the 50 Warfare-dependent States of America).
But although US taxpayers just love the domestic benefits (jobs) of perpetual war and their military and mercenary forces’ enforcement of the USD as the de facto world reserve currency, US taxpayers cannot afford to pay for perpetual war “up front”, so exactly what to do?
“What to do” (AKA “whatever it takes”) is PRECISELY what the Fed and the completely-corrupted, 3-branches-of-tyranny government is doing this very day. We see it right before our very eyes. And Their Step 1 of “whatever it takes” is to make absolutely sure that no TSHF banks fail, and, so far anyway, not prosecuting their CEOs to the full extent of the law and, last but not least, instantly putting into practice wild, “flying by the seats of their pants” financial experiments that will also not be allowed to fail.
Again, the US’s perpetual wars of choice MUST SOME HOW, ANY WAY CONTINUE, or the whack-a-mole USD will lose world-reserve-currency status and the US economy will “collapse” and, right along with it, the US’s whatever-you-want-to-call-it political system.
THIS — the threat of financial collapse resulting from the US’s wars of hegemony stalling then failing — is the REAL reason that all of the US’s foreign wars just go on and on in a world in which the US has never been LESS existentially threatened!
And THIS is the reason that US presidents have to literally make up unbelievable excuses to declare some villager in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Libya or Somalia or Yemen or Syria or Eye Rack, etc. etc. a “threat to US national INTEREST” as a legal justification to send a drone or the JSOC to murder him/her (or bomb a hospital).
We must no longer think of the US’s “effort” only in terms of “money”, because an infinite supply of “money” CAN and, therefore, WILL, be created out of thin air by the all-powerful Fed.
If the USD were still on a gold standard, the US’s wars would not have continued much beyond those of Tricky Dicky because the US did not have enough gold to do so.
Infinite fiat dollars and infinite wars go hand in hand, but only if the fiat dollars are “backed” by something. What “backs” the USD? Ever since the gold standard ended, the USD has been backed by the US’s historically-proven, certain use of military force — nowadays it would be appropriate to call it the “drone standard”.
Isn’t the ultimate purpose of any economy to keep its participants “gainfully employed”, producing all the essentials and non-essentials of life? “Money” is used to assist in attaining the goals of that economy.
So, once again with feeling, just exactly WHY do US citizens keep choosing perpetual war as their greatest non-essential of life, rather than ANY of the myriad of OTHER non-essentials that are available whose acquisition would make their lives much much easier and infinitely more “secure”? Why? You tell me.
And yes, US world-wide terrorism goes back many decades. For brevity’s sake, I’ll let two other brainwashed individuals say why.
General Smedley Butler wrote a book called “War is a Racket”. Ralph Nader mentions Butler and his book in the following video:
Historian William Blum must also be brainwashed:
I’ll take a guess as to your question of “Why?”
Moral turpitude, and NOT complete lack thereof.
Said another way, American exceptionalism is a myth.
As has been stated extensively here and elsewhere, this won’t end well. If you’ve not already located a small farm to join in the middle of nowhere (and are aggresively moving in that direction) you are desperately off the pace.
And the latest from an increasingly desperate US corporate Elite’s lame-duck president:
From the above:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2249a of title 10, United States Code, sections 40 and 40A of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) (22 U.S.C. 2780 and 2781), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby:
– determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing U.S. military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, IS ESSENTIAL TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS of the United States;
Now, just what exactly ARE the US’s “national security interests” that reside within the sovereign nation of Syria — a nation that has NOT given the US permission to do ANYTHING within its borders, let alone send military equipment and money to the US’s mercenary forces (AKA “the rebels”) that are operating illegally in Syria?
“Whenever people in Europe have been given the rare opportunity to vote on Brussels-related business, they invariably vote against Brussels.”
They’re finally beginning to wake up to the globalization scam that works against them in almost every aspect.
I do not expect anything sensible to come out of Italy, Spain,. Greece, or Portugal.
They voted against populism, in favor of the Davos elite that have profited consistently and handsomely from the formation of the eurounion and subsequent globalization.
“Van der Bellen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that Europe “shouldn’t dramatize” the growing popularity of far-right parties in Europe.
There were concerns in Brussels that Austria was on track to become the next “euroskeptic” state, with Hofer indicating support early in his campaign for a referendum, like Britain’s “Brexit” vote, on the country’s membership in the EU.”
well … it appears that Italy is voting NO ! …a least that is what the exit polls are baring out …
Implosion of the EU experiment in 3… 2…1…