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Happy Birthday Lehman Bankruptcy: Silver +71%, Gold +61%, S&P +58%

"The West is done, it's over! We screwed it all up. Do you want your great-grandchildren speaking Chinese?"



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Why Worry? The Two Scariest Charts In The World

There are plenty of things to worry about these days. However, with enough intelligence, political will, common-sense and perseverance, most challenges we face as a species can be overcome (maybe providing some hope that we can tackle whatever we are facing right now.) So why worry? Well, what will happen if we start losing those qualities and values as a global society? Which is why we believe that the following graphs are the scariest in the world today...



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Record Beheadings And The Mass Arrest Of Christians – ISIS? Or Saudi Arabia!

In the past month, a group of radical Islamic extremists based in the Middle East beheaded at least 23 people and enforced a ban on Christianity by arresting a group of people for practicing the faith in a private home. No, we're not talking about ISIS. The real culprit is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the America’s closest global allies.



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Global Un-Warming? Antarctic Sea-Ice Reaches Record High Levels

In what appears to be an awkward moment of uncomfortable fact, ABC reports satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometres covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent - the highest level of coverage since records began. This is the 3rd year in a row that the sea ice coverage has reached a record level - increasing at 1.5% each decade since 1979. However, there is another side to this, as the area covered in sea ice expands scientists have said the ice on the continent of Antarctica which is not over the ocean continues to deplete. The climate is changing, one way or the other.



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Babson's Warning

"[A] crash is coming, and it may be terrific... The vicious circle will get in full swing and the result will be a serious business depression. There may be a stampede for selling which will exceed anything that the Stock Exchange has ever witnessed. Wise are those investors who now get out of debt."



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Is This China's Scariest Chart?

UPDATE: It appears the exodus is beginning - China FDI -14% YoY (vs +0.8% exp.)

As China's shift to a consumer economy progresses based on the urbanization of its agrarian 'poor' population, an odd thing is happening at the other end of the demographic wealth spectrum. As WSJ reports, nearly half of wealthy Chinese are planning to move to another country within the next five years, according to a new Barclays survey. The top reasons 47% of these individuals - with net worths over $1.5 billion - cite for fleeing China include educational and employment opportunities, economic security, and climate. Ironically, none mentioned 'running away from potential prosecution for graft'.



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Asia-Pac Stocks Head For Worst Losing Streak In 12 Years

Japan's broad TOPIX index is lower this evening after the holiday weekend - following a six-day rise - led by Real Estate, Mining, and Banking sectors as traders suggest "the mood is to hold back ahead of the Fed meeting." China's dismal data and comments about no imminent rate cut have done nothing to tamp down enthusiasm for Shanghai Composite stocks as the Chinese government "unveiled guidelines to support the development of the stock market, pledging to make blue chips bigger and stronger and more actively traded," though HKSE is delayed for now due to Typhoon warnings. MSCI Asia-Pac is down at the open for the 9th day in a row - the longest losing streak since 2002.



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The Ebola Epidemic Silver-Lining: IMF Bailouts For Everyone

Never waste a good crisis. While we already knew a major reason for The West chasing into Africa was to leverage its relatively low credit levels as the last bastion of Keynesian-stimulus-hope in the world (estimated at between $5 and $10 trillion in secured debt, using its extensive untapped resources as first-lien collateral). And so it is little surprise that, as The WSJ reports, The International Monetary Fund on Thursday warned the West African Ebola epidemic requires a "large scale" global intervention to control a crisis that is ravaging economies in the region. All three major Ebola-suffering countries were already in bailout programs ($200mm loan in 2012 for Guinea, $100mm loan for Sierra Leone, and $80mm credit facility for Liberia) but with the "world community taking forever to respond," The IMF is happy to step in and secure some assets / lend over $100mm more to each nation to fill financing gaps.



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The Middle-East Mosaic: Friends, Foes, & Frenemies

The rise of Islamic State has upended geopolitics in the Middle East and, as The Economist notes, drawn America's military back to the region. Though ISIS is popular among militants, the group has no allies on the political stage, making it even more isolated than the official al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. As The Economist's "relationship mosaic" above visualizes the rapports among countries, political groups and militant organizations in the Middle East.



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A Simple Primer On "War Propaganda" From An Unexpected Source

"The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out."



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Minimum-Wage Blowback; The De-Humanization Of Fast-Food Has Begun

In January we noted 'Smart Restaurant' - the burger-flipping robot - and just last month we reported on China's robotification of the fast-food business; but, as The Washington Post reports, the greatest enemy to the minimum-wage-demanding fast-food worker has arrived: you can now order your own quarter-pound bacon cheeseburger from a welcoming, non-judging machine. With McDonalds sales the worst in almost a decade, it appears their need to maintain profits has stoked a move towards dehumanization. One wonder how long before tabltes are also declared 'unpatriotic'.



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The Consequences Of Fracking: Two Clashing Views

Two academic studies of the health dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have produced different conclusions. One, conducted by Yale University, said people living near fracking sites report increased health problems. The other, by Penn State University, says fracking water stays underground, far below the groundwater supplies that people use for drinking, and poses no threat.



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The Last Straw? Venezuela Runs Out Of Fake Breasts

Venezuelan women are revolting complaining. While the citizens of the socialist utopia can withstand shortages of food, toilet paper, and now even news paper, in a nation thought to have one of the world's highest plastic surgery rates, AP reports beauty-obsessed Venezuelans face a scarcity of brand-name breast implants, and women are so desperate that they and their doctors are turning to devices that are the wrong size or made in China, with less rigorous quality standards. No one is giving the frustrated women much sympathy, especially not the government where late President Hugo Chavez called the country's plastic surgery fixation "monstrous," and railed against the practice of giving implants to girls on their 15th birthdays. However, many have taken to Twitter under the hashtag "Without Boobs, There's No Paradise."



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Ron Paul Asks "Will The Swiss Vote To Get Their Gold Back?"

Just like the US and the EU, Switzerland at the federal level is ruled by a group of elites who are more concerned with their own status, well-being, and international reputation than with the good of the country. The gold referendum, if it is successful, will be a slap in the face to those elites. The Swiss people appreciate the work their forefathers put into building up large gold reserves, a respected currency, and a strong, independent banking system. They do not want to see centuries of struggle squandered by a central bank. The results of the November referendum may be a bellwether, indicating just how strong popular movements can be in establishing central bank accountability and returning gold to a monetary role.



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