"Scorched Earth": How Israel Converted 40% Of Gaza Into A Wasteland Of Rubble

While the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will come and go, something far more insidious is taking place in Gaza : as the Daily Beast reports, "The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the 3-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory."

Payrolls Watch: July Challenger Job Layoffs Surge Most In Over 2 Years

With the world waiting for tomorrow's "most important data of the year" payrolls report as their signal to BTFD or follow Yellen Capital's recommendation and "sell," we thought it perhaps of note that this morning's Challenger jobs data was extremely weak. Layoffs in July surged 49% (the most since May 2012) to 46,887. This is the 2nd most layoffs in 11 months. The heaviest layoffs were in the Western region and also most concentrated in the auto industry.

Pole-Dancing And/Or Happy Women Should Avoid Turkey, Deputy PM

If you're a woman looking for some fun... we strongly urge you to avoid Turkey. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has some strong opinions on the female of the species. First, on Monday, he exclaimed women needed to be "morally upright" and "not laugh out loud in public." And now, the senior Turkish minister, that some women "don’t have self control and can’t stop themselves from climbing up a pole." Of course his actions sparked an avalanche of social media posts of women laughing-out-loud and on-the-pole... which is ironic given that Twitter reports that Turkey accounts for 43% of all global requests for content removal.

The West's Reckless Rush Towards War With Russia

For reasons that have no rational explanations at this time, the US and Europe have embarked on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict as it's been since the Cold War, a time hardly memorable to many in the current crop of our elected officials. A dangerous dynamic is brewing between the West and Russia/Putin. We are seeing a rush to war very similar to the one that led up to Saddam's ouster, but this time, we have much less justification (hard to believe) and the opponent is tremendously more capable. There is little sense in the course the West is currently pursuing, little to gain, and much to lose. The main conclusion here is that not only is the US poking the bear, but it is doing so with increasing frequency and upping the ante dangerously with each step.

Tesla's Non-GAAP Quarter In Three Gigacharts (Added Free Option: GAAP Charts)

Yes, yes, we know: soon everyone will be driving a Tesla, and, perhaps, sooner Tesla will build its much-hyped, and so critical for its business model Gigafactory (although shouldn't it be non-GIGA to go with non-GAAP... about which it had this to say: "In June, we broke ground just outside Reno, Nevada on a site that could potentially be the location for the Gigafactory. Consistent with our strategy to identify and break ground on multiple sites, we continue to evaluate other locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas."). In the meantime, and just as the biggest wealth effect-creating (for the 0.1%) stock market of all time appears to be ending, here is Tesla's quarter, and last few years, in three gigacharts.

Demoted Chicago Tech Firm CTO Shoots Boss, Self

One man is dead and one man critical after a 59-year-old employee of Chicago tech firm ArrowStream shot the company's CEO and then turned the weapon on himself and committed suicide. Chicago Police stated that "he was despondent over the fact that he got demoted." The alleged shooter, Anthony DeFrances, CTO for the firm, had worked for the company since 2001. As Fox reports, the company’s CEO, Steven LaVoie, 54, of LaGrange, was in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, after being shot in the head and stomach. Sadly, as small cap stocks come under pressure and the endless flow of hot money into tech startups slows (as it has done before), we fear this episode could well repeat all over the country.

"Stability Breeds Instability", Or Why John Taylor Is Angry

"What is the matter with us? Why can't we - especially our financial leaders - get it? Too much demos? Are we ruled by the Sun, the NY Post, and the Roman circus?Dropping back to earth from 10,000 meters - unfortunately, not high enough to be safe - the Japanese yen and the Dollar Index in general went wild this past week rising from comatose - straight lining almost - seemingly out of nowhere. It wasn't actually the Japanese industrial production coming in at minus 3.3% instead of the forecasted minus 1.2% that was such a surprise. We and many other analysts have been saying the Japanese economy was acting worse than it did in 1997 when they last hiked the sales tax, but the authorities everywhere said nothing, there seem to be no vigilantes of any sort. This is not the 1970's or the 1980's, we don't call an idiotic policy by its name (with money, that is). Zero Hedge can rant on but no one follows them or, more important, does a real analysis of the situation."

Substituting Debt For Income Is Not Success - It's Failure On An Epic Scale

The economic "recovery" has been based on a simple premise: debt can be substituted for income with no ill effects. As real household incomes have declined, the legitimate foundation of additional spending--more income--has eroded for the bottom 90%. The Fed's substitution of debt for income has only doomed the nation to a deeper, more painful realignment of real income and expenses.

Pentagon Slams Israel's "Unacceptable" Shelling Of UN Shelters As "Totally Indefensible"

We already know that all is not well in US-Israeli relations (despite the ongoing funding) and John Kerry is not helping, but this morning's comments from the White House and Pentagon are concerning. As The BBC reports, the US Defense Dept says civilian casualties in Gaza are "too high" and Israel needs to do more to protect civilian life. Then White House spokesman John Earnest added, "the shelling of a UN facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible." Time to rethink the $576 mllion tripling of Israeli aid?

Fitch Warns High-Yield Default Rate Set To Jump

As every 'real' corporate bond manager knows (as opposed to playing one on television), forecasting from historical defaults is a fool's errand as the process is entirely cyclical and non-stationary. The fact that default rates have been low for 4 years (thanks to an overwhelming flood of liquidity-driven demand for yield) is of absolutely no use when pricing discounted cashflows into the future. However, as Fitch warns, a jump in US high-yield default rates looms. There have been 10 LBO related bond defaults thus far in 2014, compared with nine for all of 2013. While most sectors remain relatively clam, the utilities and chemicals sectors are seeing huge spikes in defaults... which explains why the market is starting to price that in.

CIA Admits Spying On Senate Computers

It's not been a good day for the CIA. First, the State Department slams them for brutally treating terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks, noting that "no American is proud" of CIA tactics. And now, as The NY Times reports, an internal investigation has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing the report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program. Of course, this is not the first time the CIA has hacked Senate networks but do not fear American citizenry, CIA Director has apologized for his staff "acting inappropriately" and is setting up an internal accountability board to review the matter. It appears Ron Paul was right.

"Three Lost Decades" – How The American Middle Class Is 20% Poorer Now Vs. 1984

Like so many other things in popular American culture, this quaint notion of a "middle class" in the U.S. is at this point nothing more than a myth; a rapidly fading fantasy from a bygone era. As we have noted for quite some time, the decimation of the middle class began long ago. It really got started in the early 1970?s after Nixon defaulted on the gold standard and financialization began to take over the American economy. Median real wages haven’t increased since that time and the rest is history.

Russia And India Begin Negotations To Use National Currencies In Settlements, Bypassing Dollar

Over the past 6 months, there has been much talk about the strategic proximity between Russia and China, made even more proximal following the "holy grail" gas deal announced in May which would not have happened on such an accelerated time frame had it not been for US escalation in Ukraine. And yet little has been said about that other just as crucial for the "new BRIC-centric world order" relationship, that between Russia and India. That is about to change when yesterday the Russian central bank announced that having been increasingly shunned by the west, Russia discussed cooperation with Reserve Bank of India Executive Director Shrikant Padmanabhan. The punchline: India agreed to create a task group to work out a mechanism for using national currencies in settlements. And so another major bilateral arrangement is set up that completely bypasses the dollar.