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Congress Proposes Law Banning Body Armor In The Land Of The Free

Communist China. Nazi Germany. Cambodia. Guatemala. Uganda. The list goes on and on. Pacification of the citizens is almost always a prerequisite to totalitarianism. There have been a lot of attempts to disarm, or at least partially disarm, people in the US throughout history as well. Each time there’s a major shooting somewhere, the chant to ban firearms grows louder. But the latest proposal is especially telling. H.R. 5344 is a bill currently going through Congress that would ban the purchase of body armor.



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Chuck Hagel Goes Full Fearmonger: "ISIS Poses Greater Threat Than 9/11, Prepare For Everything"

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel talks about the "imminent threat" ISIS poses to the US and the World.. .and pulls no punches in his total fearmongery..."ISIL poses a threat greater than 9/11. ISIL is as sophisticated and well funded as any group we have seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology with a sophisticated strategic and tactical military prowess and they're tremendously well-funded. This is way beyond anything we have seen. We must prepare for everything. Get Ready!" Time for some QE-funded deficit-busting war spending...



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"Disturbing Pattern" Continues, Administration Broke The Law With Bergdahl Swap, GAO Says

"In our view, the meaning of the (law) is clear and unambiguous," the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote, The Pentagon broke the law when it swapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, for five Taliban leaders. As AP reports, the GAO charges that the administration failed to notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange, and furthermore, used $988,400 of a wartime account to make the transfer without express appropriation - breaking the Antideficiency Act. So it seems The White House's previous statement that it "acted lawfully" are once again false. As Republican Senator Susan Collins exclaimed, "The president's decision is part of a disturbing pattern where he unilaterally decides that he does not have to comply with provisions of laws with which he disagrees."



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Artist's Impression Of President Obama's Urgent Matters In Washington

Presented with no comment...



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Liberian Police Open Fire On Ebola Protesters

Police in the Liberian capital fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd trying to break an Ebola quarantine imposed on their neighbourhood. As Reuters reports, at least four people were injured in clashes with security forces, witnesses said, though it was unclear whether anyone was wounded by the gunfire. Liberian authorities introduced a nationwide curfew on Tuesday and put the West Point neighbourhood under quarantine to curb the spread of the disease. "The soldiers are using live rounds," said army spokesman Dessaline Allison, adding: "The soldiers applied the rules of engagement. They did not fire on peaceful citizens." Locals are angry, "I don't have any food and we're scared," screamed one, adding, "it is inhumane."



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The Stunning Charts Showing Just How Much Richer The Rich Have Gotten While The Poor Drown In Debt

Nowhere is the "financialization" of the US economy more evident than in this chart showing the relative net worth ratio of quntile to the next quintile right below it. Quote Census: "The distribution of net worth became more spread out between 2000 and 2011. The ratio of median net worth of the highest quintile to the second quintile increased from 39.8 to 86.8 between 2000 and 2011, and the ratio of the highest quintile to the third quintile increased from 7.7 to 9.2. The ratio of the highest quintile to the fourth quintile was 3.0 in 2000 and showed no statistically significant change over this period." 



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Ukraine Central Bank "Friends" USDollar Sellers, Posts 'Failed' FX Intervention On Facebook

Forget Bloomberg, ignore Reuters, dismiss that 'well-informed trader' source... Ukraine's Central Bank has decided that critical medium for expressing its desperation to stop the collapse of its currency is... Facebook.



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Meanwhile, Outside Of Jackson Hole...

It appears that while most of the world's great unwashed sell-side Economists were not invited to J-Hole this year, this group of protesters managed to sneak in and had a message for QE-ing elite...



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The Illusion Of Strength

The current occupation of the markets is both "unbelievable in power and grandeur." There is simply no denying the current bull market trend as "silent crowds remain stupefied by its immensity, its endlessness and its splendid perfection." The thought for the day is simply this: "Like the many proud soldiers that occupied Brussels then, two or three years from now, how many investors will be alive to 'tell the tale' of the occupation of the bull market today?" It is within "resigned complacency" that the risks to portfolios are easily dismissed with the conviction of strength and control. Yet, it is also within this illusion that the greatest defeats in history have been delivered.



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"Bullishness" Surges To 2014 Highs

Despite the constant hum of talking heads explaining how investors are "hating this rally" just ready to pile their last penny into stocks any minute (as soon as rates rise and destroy bondholders), AAII sees bullishness at 2014 highs... it appears retail is very much all-in and praying for Yellen's blessing tomorrow...



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If QE Is Ending Because It Was So Successful, Then Here Are A Few Simple Questions

If QE is ending because it was so successful, then why is aggressive forward guidance necessary? If QE worked so well, then why will Yellen likely need to mention ‘the elevated number of part time workers’, ‘under-utilization of labor resources’ or ‘room for improvement in the labor market’? In regard to its inflation mandate, there is no evidence that QE has had any impact other than causing asset price inflation.



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"A Random Straight Line On Wall Street"

Rumors are rife that Burton Malkiel is preparing a sequel to his previous blockbuster that will be titled "A Random Straight Line On Wall Street." Because, simply put, random walks are so pre-central-planning...



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After Russia Shutters McDonalds, The West Wonders Who's Next?

Following Russia's closure on several McDonalds in Moscow, the CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce is worried: "The question on my mind is: Is this going to be a knock on the door, or is this going to be the beginning of a campaign?" As Reuters reports, businessmen from both West and East are increasingly frustrated with the tit-for-tat sanctions (and their apparent lack of efficacy at anything but slowing global growth). Russian and Ukrainian CEOs joined Richard Branson to write "We, as business leaders from Russia, Ukraine and the rest of the world, urge our governments to work together to ensure we do not regress into the Cold War misery of the past." As we noted previously, Europe has suffered most, and the following European companies remain the most exposed to escalation.



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And Another Reason Why Bonds Just Refuse To Sell Off

In addition to the countless other reason already presented here over the past year why the bond market simply refuses to sell (scarcity of "high quality collateral", shadow banking lubrication, fears over a slowing economy, reverse rotation by pension funds from stocks into bonds, etc), here is one more reason: today the spread between the 30 Year Bund and the 30 Year Treasury just hit a record wide.



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S&P Hits Record High Despite VIX Flash Smash

Was it ever in doubt? Bad news is great news for China and Europe and good new is great news for US because no matter what Yellen will go full dovetard tomorrow - at least that appears to be the total consensus view as the S&P hit record highs and bond yields plunge. Volume went from dismal to well dismal-er (we've run out of adjectives) to the lowest non-holiday of the year as we note Trannies (-0.25%) and Nasdaq lagged today. Credit markets snapped higher (tighter) today but remain less exuberant than stocks on the week. Gold staggered lower (-2% on the week) back under $1280 even as The USD rolled over notably on the day led by EUR strength. Treasuries rallied (30Y -3bps  and 10Y <2.40%) in the face of equity strength. VIX flash-smashed early on from 11.5 to over 13 (cracking stocks lower) but that was a great buying opportunity into J-Hole...



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