The God-less-father: Pope Excommunicates All Mobsters From Catholic Church

After hundreds of years knowing that no matter how many 'double-taps to the head' or 'sleeping with the fishes' orders they give, a quick penance and the mafia is going to pass through the pearly gates; the Pope, having met the father of a 3-year-old boy slain in the region's drug war, declared that all mobsters are automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church. "Those who go down the evil path, as the Mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated," Pope Francis decreed during his one-day pilgrimage to the southern region of Calabria - the heart of Italy's biggest crime syndicate. With the world already having a ChairSatan, is it now time for The SatanFather?

This Time Is Different,; But The Ending Will Be The Same

The Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing has produced a historically prolonged period of speculative yield-seeking by investors starved for safe return. The problem with simply concluding that quantitative easing can do this forever is that even speculative assets have to compete with zero. When a safe zero return is above the medium or long-term return that one can estimate for a very risky asset, the rationale for continuing to hold the risky asset becomes purely dependent on expectations of immediate short-term price gains. If speculative momentum starts to break, participants often try to get out the door simultaneously – especially if there is some material event that increases general aversion to risk. That’s the dynamic that produces market crashes.

BofA Blasts Sell Bonds, Sell Gold, Buy Dollars

"After several weeks, Gold is setting up for a sell, US Treasuries are set to resume their bear trend, and the USD is set to resume its bull trend. Get ready..." is the ominous warning BofAML's Macneil Curry sets forth in his technical treatise this weekend. Despite the plethora reasons for rates to go lower for longer (and treacherous market conditions expected ahead) and the various fundamental and technical drivers of recent precious metals strength, Curry says it's time.

China Builds World's Most Powerful Nuclear Reactor; Regulators "Overwhelmed"

We are sure this will end well. Just as China took the 'if we build it (on free credit), they will come' growth model to extremes in real estate; it appears their ambitions in nuclear energy production are just as grandiose. However, just as they lost control of the real estate market, Bloomberg reports China is moving quickly to become the first country to operate the world’s most powerful atomic reactor even as France’s nuclear regulator says communication and cooperation on safety measures with its Chinese counterparts are lacking. France has a lot riding on a smooth roll out of China’s European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs) as it is home to Areva, which developed the next-gen reactor, and utility EdF, which oversees the project. French regulators, speaking in parliament, warned, "the Chinese safety authorities lack means. They are overwhelmed."

Poverty In The UK Doubles Over the Past 30 Years, Despite Robust “Economic Growth”

One of our favorite lines about the current oligarch theft continuing to occur throughout the world is courtesy of the “Artist Taxi Driver,” who likes to state: “This is not a recession its a robbery.” Truer words were never said, but this theft goes back a lot further than the latest economic catastrophe. As we all know by now, real median wages haven’t increased in the U.S. for the past 45 years, while at the same time, so-called economic growth according to traditional metrics has exploded higher. As yesterday’s article from the Guardian below demonstrates, this is not just an American problem. It is pervasive throughout the Western world. So what happened?

Judge Who Sentenced Saddam Hussein To Death Has Been Executed By ISIS, Local Media Reports

Back in 2006, after the second US invasion of Iraq culminated if not with the discovery of the WMDs (which were the pretext for the invasion in the first place), but the unearthing (literally) and kangaroo court trial of Saddam Hussein, the US was quick to announce "mission accomplished." Recent events have made a mockery of that claim, however what is truly the straw that broke the back of poetic justice, to mix metaphors, are reports from local media that as part of its blitzcampaign to take over northern Iraq, ISIS found and the promptly executed Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman, the judge who sentenced Saddam to death: a death which to many was the crowning moment of the second US invasion of Iraq, and the confirmation of successful US foreign policy.

The US Healthcare System: Most Expensive Yet Worst In The Developed World

One month ago we showed that when it comes to the cost of basic (and not so basic) health insurance, the US is by far the most expensive country in the world and certainly among its "wealthy-nation"peers. It would be logical then to think that as a result of this premium - the biggest in the world - the quality of the healthcare offered in the US among the best, if not the best, in the world. Unfortunately, that would be wrong and, in fact, the reality is the complete opposite: as a recent study by the Commonweath Fund, looking at how the US healthcare system compares internationally, finds, "the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity." In other words: most expensive, yet worst in the developed world.

Cronyism In The 21st Century

Ghandi was once asked, "What do you think about Western Civilization?" to which he famously replied "I think it's a good idea." He may as well have been talking about free market capitalism. Capital in the 21st Century has hit the world like a new teen idol sensation. Everybody is drinking the Kool-Aid and it's being held up as the most important book ever written on the subject of how runaway capitalism leads to wealth inequality. Paul Krugman of course, loves it. As does every head of state and political hack in the (formerly) free world. So let's do something different here and accept a core premise of Capital, and say that wealth inequality is increasing, and that it's a bad thing. Where the point is completely missed is in what causes it (ostensibly "free market capitalism") and what to do about it (increase government control, induce more inflation and raise taxes). The point of this essay is to assert that it is not unchecked capital or runaway free markets that cause increasing wealth inequality, but rather that the underlying monetary system itself is hard-coded by an inner temple of ruling elites in a way which creates that inequality.

Even ISIS Mocks Obama's "Hashtag Diplomacy" With #BringBackOurHumvee

Until this moment, mocking the administration's imploding foreign policy was largely a domestic issue, for the simple reason that foreigners were too busy annexing Crimea, taking over Kurdish oil fields, or repelling US-trained, if divided Al-Qaeda militants to spare time to troll the first lady. That changed this past week when none other than the Al-Qaeda extremist spinoff which in recent weeks has overrun half of Iraq, ISIS, and which as we reported managed to "confiscate" an unknown number of US-made Black Hawk helicopters and Humvees, decided to use the same outlet, Twitter, to not only mock Michelle Obama, but US foreign policy in Iraq. According to Al Arabiya, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made a mockery of the U.S. first lady Michelle Obama through series of tweets accompanied by the hashtag: #bringbackourhumvee.

Selling The Bear Case For Stocks

Perhaps the miserable failure of the bear case on global equities over the past 5 years has more to do with marketing the message than anything actually wrong with the arguments for higher volatility and lower asset prices. As a reminder, ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes the classic "4 P’s" of marketing are: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place (Distribution), pointing out that when it comes to getting the bear case out, it is clear which component is missing: Price. Stock markets that churn higher - as they do right now - simply make it too expensive to sit out the rally.  The “Product” and “Promotion” are both fine – you can read negative commentary in many reputable places and speak with very intelligent bears. That takes care of “Place” as well; it’s not hard to find cautionary investment opinions. The take-away from this approach is simple: calling the top may not be as hard as you think. The first 10% pullback may be enough to complete the 4 Ps. Until then, however, it’s just too hard a story to sell.

Immigration Control? Hundreds Of Bodies Found In Mass Grave In Texas

The bodies of hundreds of undocumented immigrants who died (usually from exposure in the 100-degree-plus heat) while crossing the Texas-Mexico border over the last few years have been discovered in mass graves in a South Texas cemetery, with remains found in trash bags, shopping bags, body bags, or no containers at all, according to The Corpus Christi Caller Times. The bodies are believed to have been buried by a local funeral home since 2005 in the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Brooks County. County officials said they paid the local funeral home $450 per body to handle the bodies (after officials discovered them in brush country) and County Judge Raul Ramirez said that was the practice for at least 16 years. "To me it’s just as shocking as the mass grave that you would picture in your head, and it’s just as disrespectful," exclaimed one of the discoverers, and Democratic state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa called for the district’s attorney general to open a criminal investigation as "this is too serious of a wrongdoing."

"End The Fed" Rallies Are Exploding Throughout Germany

This is a fascinating development... It seems that rallies are spreading throughout Germany protesting the corrupt and dying global status quo. One of the key targets of these groups is the U.S. Federal Reserve system, which as we have maintained, is the core cancer infecting the entire planet.

The ABCs Of A Crash: No Alpha, All Beta, & Consensus Contagion

The vicious circle of central-bank inspired low volatility begetting increasing fragility (instead of 2004-2007's virtuous circle) is nowhere more clear that in the collapse of alpha generation opportunities and the implicit capitulation of every hedge fund, retail investor, and Goldman muppet to be all-in on stocks. Removing collateral, gating bond funds, and constant warnings that they bonds (not stocks) may be frothy has done nothing but herd an ever more brainwashed investing public into an ever more concentrated ownership of stocks. This, as Citi's Matt King explains, has distorted markets to no longer follow fundamentals (no matter what you are pitched on TV or by your broker). The bottom line - there is no Alpha, everyone is all-in Beta, and consensus is now so one-sided that Contagion is inevitable if any event occurs to rattle market's faith in the omnipotent ones (like a gold spike).

Why Listening To Economists Is Dangerous For Your Health

Fed economists say they don’t think inflation rates are rising. They think the most recent reading is a fluke. But why does anyone take them seriously? Prakash Loungani, an economist working for the IMF, undertook a study (published in 2001 in the International Journal of Forecasting); there were no surprises in it. “The record of failure to predict recessions is virtually unblemished,” he reported. That was in 2001. Surely, by 2014, the experts had managed to stain their pathetic record with some success? Nope. Loungani and a colleague, Hites Ahir, took another look. They examined 77 different national economies, of which 49 were in recession in 2009. In 2008, how many economic forecasters saw the recessions coming a year later? Go ahead, dear reader, take a guess. The answer is zero.

UK Scrambles 7 Fighter Jets To Intercept Russian Aircraft

Britain's Ministry of Defence said this week it had scrambled Typhoon fighter jets after four separate groups of aircraft were detected in international airspace near the Baltics by NATO air defenses. The British jets intercepted seven Russian military aircraft that, as Reuters reports, did not file a flight plan and did not use their transponders, making them invisible to civilian air traffic control and a safety hazard to commercial air traffic. "The Russian aircraft were monitored by the RAF Typhoons and escorted on their way," noted the ministry. This follows an event last Thursday when Latvia said NATO fighters had scrambled a record four times after a total of 16 Russian military planes were spotted close to the country’s air space.

How "Willy" & "Nicky" Failed To Avert World War I

At the end of June, commemorative events will mark exactly 100 years since the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo - a moment that would precipitate World War I. In the four days before war broke out, the Russian tsar and his cousin the German emperor -- "Willy" and "Nicky" as they nicknamed each other -- traded telegrams in a last-ditch bid to save peace, even as their army chiefs readied for battle.

Russia Puts Troops In Central Region On Combat-Ready Alert After Launch Of Massive Surprise Drill - Video

So much for the Ukraine ultimatum. Just hours after fighting erupted on both sides of the Ukraine-Russian border to commemorate Ukraine's "ceasefire" proposal roundly mocked by the Kremlin, Russian forces in Siberia, the Urals and beyond were been put on combat-ready alert, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said after President Putin ordered surprise drills. "Over 65,000 troops, about 5,500 weapon units and vehicles, over 180 planes, and about 60 helicopters will be involved in the test.