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Norad Admits F-22 Fighter Jets Intercepted 4 Russian Bombers 50 Miles Off California Coast

"At the height of the Cold War I do not remember them getting this close," notes a retired Air Force Lt. Gen. as The Washington Free Beacon reports that four Russian strategic bombers triggered U.S. air defense systems while conducting practice bombing runs near Alaska this week, with two of the Tu-95 Bear H aircraft coming within 50 miles of the California coast, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) confirmed Wednesday. Two U.S. Air Force F-22 jets were scrambled and intercepted the bombers over the Aleutians but the remaining two nuclear-capable bombers then flew southeast and entered the U.S. northern air defense zone off the coast of Northern California, before 2 more F-15s were scrambled. As House Armed Services Committee member Connaway ranted, "truth of the matter is we would have squashed either one of those [bombers] like baby seals." McInerney said no American president has been treated with such disrespect in U.S. history.


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3 "X-Class" Solar Flares Hit Earth; Disrupt Flights, Communications

The sun has had three major "X-Class" solar flares on its surface in the past two days that have affected communications on Earth and could send a shockwave through Earth this Friday (the 13th), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As ABC reports, the “solar events” caused brief blackouts in high frequency communications when they struck, twice on Tuesday morning and once this morning. One of the flares created a “coronal mass ejection” that actually could come into contact with Earth on Friday, according to NOAA, and could cause a minor geo-magnetic storm.


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12 Numbers About The Global Financial Ponzi Scheme That Everyone Should Know

The numbers that you are about to see are likely to shock you. They prove that the global financial Ponzi scheme is far more extensive than most people would ever dare to imagine. The truth is that our financial system is little more than a giant pyramid scheme that is based on debt and paper promises. It is literally a miracle that it has survived for so long without collapsing already. But at some point a day of reckoning is coming, and when it arrives it is going to be the most painful financial crisis the world has ever seen.


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US Secretly Unleashed Drones Over Iraq But Admits "Not Like It Did Any Good"

Because drones have done so much for the "we love American exceptionalism" belief across the middle east, the US decided that since last year, secretly flying unmanned surveillance aircraft over Iraq - to collect intelligence of insurgents - would be good idea. The intelligence (and use the term loosely) was share with Iraqi forces but as WSJ reports, one secnior US official admitted "It's not like it did any good," as the rapid territorial gains by the Islamist forces loyal to Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, caught the U.S. by surprise.


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"X" Marks The "Irrational" Spot

Fed's Williams recently warned of "irrational" investors getting "carried away" by "assuming a pattern (rising stocks) will persist." If financial stability is really the Fed's concern then one look at the chart below shows they have totally and utterly failed...


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How The US Is Arming Both Sides Of The Iraqi Conflict

To summarize: the US was arming and training the same Al Qaeda/ISIS groups of Jihadists, that it concurrently gave Iraq weapons to fight. And since the Iraq army has so far proven utterly incapable of any resistance, it is now up to US drones to "fight" the same "rebels" that the US itself was collaborating with until a month or so ago.


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Why We Underestimate Change Until It Is Right On Top Of Us

As human beings, we are remarkably poor at predicting our future selves.  We know that our personalities, preferences and values have certainly changed in the past, but, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas explains, we tend to dramatically underestimate what changes might be in store on these fronts in the future.  That’s the upshot of a recent bit of research by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, and it helps explain how we process decisions as varied as whether to get a tattoo or how we invest financial capital.  Stasis is our default setting when it comes to considering our futures, and that lack of imagination seems to inform how much we can predict about how other people and systems will change as well.  The most important takeaway: no matter how much you think your life will remain the same, you are almost certainly wrong.  And the same goes for capital markets.


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Sorry, You're Not Allowed: Capital Segregation and Rising Inequality

If capital is not treated equally, political equality is an illusion, for capital buys political influence and power. Capital that can buy political power gains political protection of its extraordinary privileges to control rentier income streams, income which furthers its political power.


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Iraq Releases Gun Camera Footage Of Deadly Air Strikes On Al-Qaeda Forces

It may not be quite as exciting (yet) as CNN's night vision coverage of the air bombing campaign from Operation Desert Storm, but in an attempt, we assume, to boost morale and to show that the Iraqi army isn't folding like John Boehner at the first sign of Al-Qaeda ISIS troops, moments ago the Iraqi defense ministry, via AP, released the following footage which is said to show "deadly airstrikes on militants in the Salah al-Din and Nineveh provinces" from Wednesday night, shortly after ISIS captures two strategic Iraq cities.


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Virtual Currency Slides As FBI Prepares To Dump 144,341 "Silk-Road" Bitcoins

The FBI announces it is preparing to sell the 144,341 Bitcoins that were collected during raids in the online drug market Silk Road. While the WSJ reports, the timing and sales method are unclear, it is already weighing on the virtual currency as the Bitcoin traders front run the Fed's unwind...


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Spanish Government Goes Digging For GDP, Asks Brothels: "How Many Services Do Your Hookers Provide?"

First Italy, then Britain, and now Spain has decided that the key to reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio is not fiscal responsibility, growth, inflation, or restructuring but simply changing the denominator to better reflect reality - in other words, as El Pais reports, Spain is putting an official number on its sex trade and therefore juicing GDP. Prostitution, which is in legal limbo in Spain, is expected, according to revised figures released by the INE on Thursday Spanish GDP increases by between 2.7% and 4.5% after illegal activities such as prostitution, drug trafficking and smuggling are included. The Spanish government is undertaking a sexual services survey to better understand the industry...


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Oil Soars, Stocks Slide On Fears Of Iraq 3.0

It seems blood on Iraq streets and infringements near oil reserves is enough to pop crude oil price, break the airlines bubble, stall the Trannies unstoppable surge, and spark volume selling through the US equity markets. We will be reassured that this is a buying opportunity and that 'nothing fundamental has changed' and the US is 'the cleanest dirty shirt' but when the Chinese are tamping down carry with flip-flopping CNY fixes, the ECB has shot his mini-bazooka, and we know the Fed ain't un-tapering anytime soon (as they are fearsome of complacency and financial fragility), it makes one wonder if the corporate buyback machine can overwhelm the geopolitical-risk selling pressure of the rest of the world. Trannies dropped to their worst day in 4 months as all major US equities reversed any Draghi gains. Treasuries were well bid (-6bps and lower in yield on the week) as gold also benefited from safe haven status rising up to $1275. Copper slipped further south. Oil was the big news, spiking up to $106.70 (9 month highs). It's not Tuesday - what did you expect? (and remember there are no Friday POMOs in June).


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US Naval Map Update: Iraq vs Al-Qaeda Edition

Now that the middle east is once again about to become a hot bed of "kinetic action", the recurring question from 2011/2012 when Israel was seemingly knocking on Iran's door on a daily basis, returns: how are US naval assets positioned particularly those surrounding the Fifth fleet located in the Persian Gulf. The answer, as updated just earlier today, is shown below, and it shows that America, which historically has had a far greater naval presence in the middle east, is quite unprepared for the recent dramatic resurgence of Al Qaeda splinter groups. Expect at least one more aircraft carrier to depart in direction Iraq shortly.


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Bank Of America: "A Slowdown In National Home Prices Is Coming"

The gain in home prices has been widespread, with prices up on an annual basis in all 20 metropolitan areas surveyed. However, as BofAML notes the improvement has been particularly notable in certain markets, which have disproportionately pulled up the national composite. Ethan Harris points out that the trend in home prices in California is particularly important when gauging the risks to national home prices; and prices have peaked. The bottom line, they warn, "if history is a guide, this suggests a slowdown in national prices is coming."


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Here's Why (Unfortunately) The "Shocking" Tea-Party Victory Doesn't Matter

We can be happy. And we can hope. But it’s dangerous to presume that all the challenges improve simply because a new group of people is installed into positions of power. This is the fallacy that persists at nearly every election cycle– people cheer that the new guy is going to fix everything. And this excitement almost always turns to disappointment. Optimism is great. But it’s dangerous to invest one’s faith in a political system. Elections merely change the players. They don’t change the game. And it is the game that is fundamentally flawed.


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