Are Conspiracy Theories The Biggest Threat To Democracy?

What is the common element between Liborgate, the Fed manipulating capital markets, China hoarding gold, and the recent ubiquotous NSA spying revelations? At one point, before they became fact, they were all "conspiracy theories" as were the Freemasons, the Illuminati, McCarthy's witch hunts, 9/11, and so many more. The same theories, which are now part of a Cambridge University study titled Conspiracy and Democracy,  which looks at the prevalence of conspiracy theories and what they tell us about trust in democratic societies, about the differences between cultures and societies, and why conspiracy theories (ostensibly before they become fact) appear at particular moments in history. But, at its core, whether conspiracy theories will, as the BBC summarizes, it, eventually destroy democracy.

Top U.S. Hospitals Are Opting Out Of Obamacare

Americans who sign up for Obamacare will be getting a big surprise if they expect to access premium health care that may have been previously covered under their personal policies. Most of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under Obamacare. Watchdog.org looked at the top 18 hospitals nationwide as ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2013-2014. We contacted each hospital to determine their contracts and talked to several insurance companies, as well. The result of our investigation: Many top hospitals are simply opting out of Obamacare.

Obama Issues Executive Order To Prepare For Climate War

Two months ago we reported that Obama had officially declared war on the weather, after it was reported that he was ready to use "administrative authority" to fight climate change. While at the time it was not quite clear just what authority he had to unleash centrally-planned weather, today we finally got a glimpse of how Obama's biggest war yet would look like. As Washington Times reports, "President Obama issued an executive order Friday directing a government-wide effort to boost preparation in states and local communities for the impact of global warming. The action orders federal agencies to work with states to build “resilience” against major storms and other weather extremes. For example, the president’s order directs that infrastructure projects like bridges and flood control take into consideration climate conditions of the future, which might require building structures larger or stronger — and likely at a higher price tag." In other words, following the epic Syrian fiasco, whose primary intention was to boost the US budget deficit as a result of a localized war, and allow Bernanke more debt issues to monetize, Obama now has decided to unleash a very expensive, and very much debt-funded war against the greatest enemy of all: the weather.

 

Spain-Based Fagor, Europe's Fifth Largest Appliance Maker, On Verge Of Bankruptcy

There has been much media insinuation in recent months that just because Spain's economy has virtually shuttered, and imports have slid to unprecedented low levels in the process pushing the (adjusted) GDP beancount positive for the first time in 3 years, that things are somehow getting better. What the media has roundly ignored is that as a result of the collapse in consumption and end demand, courtesy of an unemployment rate that at least according to Eurostat just rose to a new record high, the companies that actually operate in Spain and form the basis for any real economic growth, are shuttering at an unprecedented pace. Of note: Spanish electrical appliance maker Fagor, which employs 5,700 people worldwide, or in a few shorts months, employed, is one step closer to bankruptcy after its Polish subsidiary filed for protection from its creditors. The company, which claims to be the fifth-biggest electrical appliance company in Europe, had trading of its debt suspended after its mother firm - private Spanish conglomerate Mondragon - refused to pour in money to rescue the company.

LAX Shooter Identified, "Wanted To Kill TSA And Pigs"

Contrary to initial reports that the shooter was an off-duty NSA agent, subsequent updates have revealed that the LAX shooter, who reportedly is still dead, although unclear if he was killed before or after he was in police custody, as Paul Anthony Ciancia, a 23-year-old who was either a Los Angeles native, or from Pennsville, N.J. Additionally, we have learned that according to a law enforcement official, who was briefed at LAX on the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly, said the gunman was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a hand-written note that said he "wanted to kill TSA and pigs." The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. Considering the accuracy with which this news event has been broken, most of it relying on unsubstantiated and often times fake Twitter sources (some had reported earlier, falsely, that the former NSA chief had been shot as well), we won't be surprised if this story were to change a few more times.

The Bubble Most Go On: Stocks Buck Two-Day Taper Trade, Break Losing Streak With Late Day Surge

Looking at all non-equity asset classes, one would be left with the impression that the December taper is an increasingly likely outcome. Sure enough - bonds sold off again, and have been selling off consistently since the FOMC announcement. In fact they are poised to close at 2.62%, the highest yield since October 22. The dollar, inversely, ramped higher on both EUR woes and the expectation that its destruction may "taper" in the near future. As expected, gold did the opposite of the dollar, and Gartman's latest reco, and continued its sell off for the third day in a row: Thus the taper trade continued for the second day in a row in all asset classes, except stocks of course. Despite breifly dipping into the red shortly after today's conflicting manufacturing reports, the late day ramp was once again on location, and helped push ES nearly to a new intraday high in the minutes before the close, before a shakedown took place just after the close, sending ES sliding after hours, and wiping out the entire 3:30 pm ramp in seconds. It can be seen just where the rug gets pulled moments after the 4:00 pm close of trade. And so we close another week of mad fun with Mr. Chairman's, soon to be Mr. Chairwoman's manipulated, frothy, bubbly, markets.

Peeking Inside Yellen's Mindset

Bloomberg printed an article about Yellen’s educational background, noting that two of her professors were James Tobin and Arthur Okun.  The article is interesting because the Fed is currently trying to implement QE and “Twist” which are theories developed by these two Nobel Laureates.  Tobin attempted a form of “Twist” in the 1960’s.  He also championed Keynesian ideas and advocated government intervention to stabilize output and avoid recessions.  Okun developed an empirical “law” relating” changes in unemployment to GDP.

Unaffordable Recreation And The Ratchet Effect

Affordable recreation may not make the list of entitlement "rights" that many demand, but isn't recreation as much a public good and resource as highways? In terms of jobs created, I suspect recreation is relatively high on the list of jobs created with relatively low government spending. I cannot shake the suspicion that recreation is an obvious choice for revenue enhancement because it presumes people with disposable income can afford the higher fees and won't complain in politically meaningful ways. We complain privately but pony up the higher fees without questioning their validity. If we add up these dynamics, we find them everywhere in the economy. Recreation is simply one egregious example of how costs rising far faster than wages end up crimping what was once affordable for the majority. Luckily, we still have tent-camping (oops, tents can cost a pretty penny now, too...).

Nasdaq Gives Up: Will Not Unhalt Options Market Today

Just when you thought Healthcare.gov was the worst designed system and that nothing could match government incompetence, here comes Nasdaq, and adding insult to repeated shutdown injury from over the past several months, has just announced it will not unhalt the Options Market before the weekend, and will cancel all open orders. As for the scapegoat: "a significant increase in order entries." In other words, a blast of HFT quote churn again - just like the flash crash.

Goldman's Stolper Opines On The EUR, Says ECB Rate Cut Is A Buying Opportunity

After briefly becoming the strongest currency in the world for 2013, yesterday's stunning inflation report out of the Eurozone has not only left the massively overblown European recovery story in tatters (but... but... those soaring PMIs, oh wait, John Paulson is investing in Greece - the "recovery" is indeed over), has sent the sellside penguins scrambling with the new conviction that the ECB now has no choice but to lower rates once again, either in November or in December. So with everyone confused, we were hoping that that perpetual contrarian bellwether Tom Stolper, who just came out with a report, may have some insight. And sure enough, while the long-term EUR bull admits that "the ECB could move the EUR/USD cross by about 5 big figures by cutting the refi rate by 25bp" and that "it is quite possible that we will see EUR/$ drop further towards 1.33", he concludes that "an ECB rate cut could turn out to be a buying opportunity to go long the EUR." And now we know: because what Stolper tells his few remaining muppets to buy, Goldman is selling: if and when the ECB cuts rates, do what Goldman does, not what is says: sell everything.

Shots Fired At LAX - Live Feed

Reports hitting the tape of a shooting at LAX terminal 3, and that an evacuation is underway. According to local TV at least one TSA agent was inured and covered in blood, and the shooter may still be at large.

Bank Of America: "It's Getting Frothy, Man"

When even Bank of America has a note titled "It's getting frothy, man", and joins such other bubble-warners as JPM, Bill Gross, Larry Fink, and David Einhorn, one can be absolutely positive that the Fed will do... absolutely nothing.

The SEC's Latest Scandal: Demands For Longer Lunch Breaks

There was a time when the only complaint the SEC's 4000 employees had was that some porn sites charge just too much - after all, the SEC's "enforcement" budget is limited, while the worldwide supply of pornography is virtually endless. It's time to add one more grievance to the list of all those overworked regulators who have yet to put someone, anyone, from the big banks in jail as a consequence for nearly destroying the western way of life, or do more than merely wrist slap Steve Cohen with a penalty that costs more than three or four Picasso paintings: lunch breaks.

GM "Stuffs Channels" At Fastest Pace In Its Post-Bankruptcy History; Volt Sales Plunge 32%

One thing that was not mentioned in the otherwise blemish-free GM sales report, is that the biggest reason for the surge in GM "deliveries" was because the car company once again resorted to that old faithful gimmick: dealer channel stuffing. At 728K units in dealer inventory at month end, or 87 days supply, this was the highest number since March 2013, but more troublingly, the monthly rate of increase was the highest since GM's emergency as a "new" company from bankruptcy.