First Detroit, Now Flint Warns Bankruptcy "Train Is Headed For The Cliff"

Flint may be Michigan’s second city to plunge into bankruptcy unless retirees accept cuts in health benefits that threaten to unravel a balanced budget. As Crain's Detroit reports, Emergency Manager Darnell Earley (Flint’s third emergency leader since it was placed under state control in 2011) warned "If we have no ability to mitigate the cost of retiree health care, that’s going to make it very difficult for the city to remain financially stable over the next few years." As Eric Scorsone notes, "Flint's at the forefront, but a lot of cities are on the same train, and that train is headed for the cliff."

14 Reasons The White House's "The World Is More Stable & Less Violent Than Ever" Meme Is A Lie

With a straight face, Barack Obama has been repeatedly telling us that the world is "more stable" and "less violent" than ever. In fact, he believes that this is the best time in history to be alive because of how peaceful and stable everything is. Just this week, his press secretary told the media that this administration has "substantially improved" the "tranquility of the global community". Apparently these guys don't think that we will notice all of the violence, war and terrorism constantly raging all around us.

What Recovery? US Macro Suffers Longest Streak Of Weakness Since Lehman

Despite the best efforts of The Fed, its apologists, and the commission-taking talking-heads to persuade the world that the US economy is picking up and set to reach escape velocity any minute... the fact is, the US economy (judged on data not fantasy) is hurting. Consensus expectations for 2014 US GDP growth have collapsed from over 3.00% to a mere 1.7% now. But what is more critical is the incessant bleating that data is picking up and suggests a 2nd half recovery... it doesn't. US Macro surprise data has been negative for over 21 weeks... the longest such spell of disappointment since Lehman.

What Disposable Income Looks Like: With And Without Government Handouts

If one looks past headline figures, things are not really getting better. As shown in Figure 1, real disposable income per capita in the U.S. has increased only modestly since the Great Recession. However, all of this increase is due to Government Transfers, not from an improvement in the real economy.

California Halts Fracking Waste Injections; Fears "Danger To Life, Health, & Natural Resources"

Seven independent oil companies have been ordered to halt state-approved wastewater injection work this week, according to The Bakersfied Californian, The cessation of fracking is out of concern they may be contaminating Kern County drinking water. As ProPublica reports, The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) is warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.”

Where The Happiest Americans Are (And Are Not)

On an income-adjusted basis, New Yorkers are the most miserable Americans while citizens of Lafayette, LA are the happiest. As MarketWatch reports, based on a Harvard study which 'adjusts' for age, sex, race, income and other factors, the following map indicates where the happiest Americans are (blue/green) and are not (red).

IMF's Christine Lagarde Joins The Chorus, Warns Market Is "Too Upbeat"

"The head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Friday that financial markets were "perhaps too upbeat" because high unemployment and high debt in Europe could drag down investment and hurt future growth prospects." To summarize: first the BIS, then the Fed and now the IMF are not only warning there is either a broad market bubble or a localized one, impacting primarily the momentum stocks (which is ironic in a new normal in which momentum ignition has replaced fundamentals as the main price discovery mechanism), they are doing so ever more frequently.

Hoisington: 30Y Treasury Bonds Are Undervalued

With U.S. rates higher than those of major foreign markets, investors are provided with an additional reason to look favorably on increased investments in the long end of the U.S. treasury market. Additionally, with nominal growth slowing in response to low saving and higher debt we expect that over the next several years U.S. thirty-year bond yields could decline into the range of 1.7% to 2.3%, which is where the thirty-year yields in the Japanese and German economies, respectively, currently stand.

OECD Fears Middle Class Civil Unrest Is Coming

This idea that we live in a world where government cares about us is just the biggest propaganda ever. Everyone one will only pursue their own self-interest. The OECD has interesting come out and warned that if governments are unable to stop the transfer of wealth to a small financial elite, the displeasure of the dispossessed middle class could easily turn and go against the prevailing governmental systems.

Middle-East "Relations" In 1 Simple Chart

While everyone in the world (apart from the BRICS and Germany) know that Putin/Russia is the enemy; the relationships among the various 'states' in The Middle East are a mystery to most... As Slate reports, with overlapping civil wars in Syria and Iraq, a new flare-up of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, and tense nuclear talks with Iran; Middle Eastern politics are more volatile than ever and longtime alliances are shifting. Here's Slate's guide to who's on whose side in the escalating chaos...

The Government "Apologizes"

"Dear Grandma and Grandad, thank you for making the valiant effort over these past decades to achieve a measure of self-reliance in your dotage and for allowing us jacks-in-office full use of your savings in the meanwhile as both a means to fulfill our political ambitions and as a way to act out our own economically-illiterate and usually illiberal prejudices at the expense of you and yours... Sadly, it transpires that we have not only wasted a goodly part of your savings, but we have greatly added to the host of irredeemable promises which we made to you..."

Death Toll Hits 330 As Israel Uncovers 13 Tunnels, Faces "Suicide Donkeys"

With large anti-Israel protests in London, Paris, Brussels, and Madrid, the social media PR blitzkrieg continues between the IDF and Hamas. Palestinian officials claim over 100 civilian deaths in the last 48 hours (and over 330 since Operation Protective Edge began). Israel continues to reference the ongoing bombardment of rockets from Gaza (militants in Gaza have launched 1,663 rockets...The IDF has struck "2,300 terror targets" in Gaza). As LA Times reports, fighting continued above and below ground Saturday as Israeli soldiers have located dozens of shafts dug under homes and green houses leading to 13 tunnels. CNN reports local witnesses saying very 30 seconds to a minute a shell comes down in or around Beit Lahya. Perhaps most fascinating is The IDF claims that their forces have been attacked by explosive-laden "suicide donkeys."

Full Passenger And Cargo Manifest Of Flight MH 17

It took Malaysian Airlines two months of media prodding before it finally released the full cargo manifest of the disappeared light MH 370. Following the tragedy of flight MH 17 it took just over a day to get the same information. The full manifest is shown below and aside from several live animals including two dogs, five pigeons and five otherwise unidentified live birds and a 9.4kg "shipment of pot", there is little that draws attention. The full tragic list of 283 tragic passengers who passed away was also just released by Malaysian Airlines.

How Iraq Was Demolished By Washington's Intervention, Incoherence And Arrogance

For Americans, it was like the news from nowhere. Years had passed since reporters bothered to head for the country we invaded and blew a hole through back in 2003, the country once known as Iraq that our occupation drove into a never-ending sectarian nightmare. In 2011, the last U.S. combat troops slipped out of the country, their heads “held high,” as President Obama proclaimed at the time, and Iraq ceased to be news for Americans. With Maliki, it has simply been a different dictator, enjoying even more such support (until these last weeks), and using similarly barbaric tactics against Iraqis. Today, Washington’s policies continue in the same mindless way as more fuel is rushed to the bonfire that is incinerating Iraq.

Listed At "Only" HK$1.94 Million, This Is What Hong Kong's Cheapest "Home" Looks Like

First the good news: one can now buy an apartment in Hong Kong for the low, low price of under HK$2 million, or HK$1.94 million to be precise which amounts to a measly USD $250,000.  "New flats selling for less than HK$2 million are almost impossible to find in Hong Kong," said Louis Chan Wing-kit, managing director of Centaline Property Agency's residential department

Now the bad news: The unit is about double the size of a prison cell.

The Final Moments Of Flight MH-17: The Russian Side Of The Story

Yesterday, we laid out extensively what the official Ukrainian case was when it came to "proof" that Russian separatists had launched the Buk missile which allegedly took down flight MH-17; we also highlighted several glaring inconsistencies and questions that still remained open after the "incriminatory" YouTube clip release. So far, any international response has been muted to this hastily prepared evidence of Russian involvement, although the day is still young. So what about the Russian side? Below we present the key arguments made by Russia to suggest that not it, but Ukraine, was responsible for taking down the Malaysian Boeing.

How British Spies "Seed the Internet With False Info, Control YouTube Pageviews and Manipulate Online Polls"

Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have proof about an incredible set of tools used by the British equivalent of the NSA, known as the GCHQ, or Government Communications Headquarters. These tools will essentially confirm every single conspiracy theory you could have ever imagined when it comes to propaganda on the Internet. It allows British intelligence officers to: “manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, ‘amplify’ sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be ‘extremist.’”

Goldman Slams Abenomics; Questions "Validity Of BoJ's Target"

While we have again and again explained why Abenomics is ultimately doomed as you simply cannot print your way to prosperity (a message The Fed appears to be discovering rapidly), when Goldman Sachs unleashes an Abenomics-bashing piece, one has to wonder just what options Abe has left as economic data starts to collapse (and approval ratings drop just as fast). Simply put, as we concluded before, "Monetary debasement does NOT result in an economic recovery, because no nation can force another to pay for its recovery... Eventually the monetary debasement raises all costs and this initial benefit to exporters vanishes. Then the country is left with a depleted capital base and a higher price level. What a great policy!"