Because on the tenth birthday (and with trillions of dollars pledged to keep it alive, we use the term very loosely) of the most loathed currency in the history of the world, we find out that in the heads of the fat, bald, corpulent, and corrupt eurocrats, the zEUR0.pk is somehow represented by a hot woman. Our prediction: the 20th anniversary of the euro will star the Michael Jackson zombie from Thriller...dancing around on centrally planned puppet strings of course.
How Jim O'Neill still has a job is beyond us. Not only is he the head of the worst performing vertical at Goldman Sachs, not only is he the creator of the Bloody Ridiculous Investment Concept (BRIC), but now this? Come on...
Iran Makes First Nuclear Fuel Rods, Fires Mid-Range SAM In Retaliation For Full Blown US Financial BoycottSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/01/2012 - 13:44
The political press has been abuzz with over the much anticipated signing of the NDAA by Barack Obama on Saturday: this move was not surprising because Obama had already made it clear he would go ahead and enact the law, even though he added some 'stern' language that is supposed to legitimize what some say is a precursor to the establishment of martial law in the US. To wit: "The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists." And yet he signed it (full text of Obama's statement on the NDAA, sent while on vacation in Hawaii, can be found here). Perhaps the reason for that unpopular move were some of the more nuanced contents of the Bill, among which is the decision to fully boycott not only Iran, but any bank, including central bank, and other financial institution found to deal with Iran. Which incidentally means most of Russia and China, and probably half of Europe, as all petrodollars generated by the country's petroleum export industry first have to make their way via the international financial community back into the country. The history buffs out there will realize that this form of couched antagonism is nothing short of the US approach to Japan during World War II, which was essentially provoked into attacking Pearl Harbor - read the details of the October 7, 1940 McCollum Memo here, and especially bullet point 10. And unfortunately, it appears that within 24 hours or so, Iran may have already taken the bait. As Reuters and BBC report, Iran has both test-fired a medium-range SAM during the ongoing wargames exercise previously discussed here, as well as made a formal announcement it has made and tested domestically made nuclear fuel rods: precisely the event that the Israel or US-borne Stuxnet was designed to prevent. So as the tennis match of escalation keeps on growing the ball is now once again in the US' court.
When it comes to the fabled President's Working Group on Capital Markets, also known as the Plunge Protection Team, the myths about the subject are certainly far greater than any underlying reality. To be sure, vast amounts of popular folkflore has been expounded into the public arena, with most of it being shot down simply due to it assuming conspiracy theories of such vast scale that the human mind is unable to grasp the complexity, and ultimately the inverse Gordian Knot makes an appearance with the claim that vast conspiracies are largely untenable simply because it is impossible to keep a secret from so many people for so long. Yet what if the secret is not a secret at all but is fully out in the open, and is only a matter of interpretation, and contextualizing? Why just 3 years ago it would appear preposterous to allege the capital markets are a ponzi and that the Fed does everything in its power to keep stocks higher. Well, what a difference three years make: now the Chairman himself in a Washington Post OpEd has admitted that the sole gauge of Fed success is the loftiness of the Russell 2000, neither unemployment nor inflation really matter now that the Fed's third mandate has been fully whipped out. Furthermore, Keynesian economics, and the entire top echelon of the educational system have also been accurately represented as a paradigm which merely perpetuates the status quo as the alternative is the realization that the whole system is a house of cards. As for the global capital markets being nothing short of a ponzi, we merely point you to the general direction of Europe, the ECB and the continent's banks, where the monetary interplay is nothing short of the world's biggest pyramid scheme. Yet the PPT, or whatever it is informally called, does not exist? Consider further that only recently did it become known that the former SecTres Hank Paulson himself was exposed as presenting material non-public information to a bevy of Goldman arb desk diaspora hedge funds, headed by with none other than the head of the President's Working Group on Capital Markets Asset Managers committee David Mindich. So, if contrary to all the evidence that there is some vast underlying pattern, if not a conspiracy per se, one were to take the leap of faith and take the next step, where would one end up? Well, most likely looking at the Exchange Stabilization Fund, or ESF, which Eric deCarbonnel has spent so much time trying to unmask. Is it possible that the ESF, located conveniently at the nexus between US monetary policy, foreign policy and last but not least, a promoter of the interests of the US military-industrial complex, is precisely the organization that so many have been trying to expose for years? Watch and decide for yourself.
When it comes to the types of people in this world, there are those who say that the only way to fix the current economic catastrophe is to keep doing more of the same that got us in this condition in the first place (these are the people who say mean regression is irrelevant, and 10 men and women in an economic room can overturn the laws of math, nature, physics, and everything else and determine what is best for 7 billion people), and then there is everyone else. The former are called Keynesians. The latter are not. Only those in the former camp don't see the lunacy of their fundamental premise, a good example of which is the following. Luckily, the world is nearing the tipping point when the camp of the former, which for the simple reason that it allowed the few to steal from the many under the guise that it is for the benefit of all, is about to be overrun, hopefully peacefully and amicable but not necessarily, and the camp of the latter finally has its day in the sun. Naturally, when that happens the status quo loses, as the entire educational and employment paradigm is one which idolizes the former and ridicules the latter even though the former has now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt it is a miserable failure (ref: $20+ trillion excess debt overhang which will, without doubt, lead to a global debt repudiation or restructuring, with some components of "odious debt"). So for all those still confused what some of the core premises of the ascendent "latter" are, below we present two one-hour lectures by Israel Kirzner. We urge readers to set aside two hours, which otherwise would be devoted to watching rubbish on TV or waiting in line for In N Out burger, and watch the two lectures below. Because, contrary to what the voodoo shamans of failure will tell you, there is a way out. It is a very painful way, but it does exist. The alternative is an assured and complete systemic collapse once the can kicking finally fails.
Balancing the budget in 2032 is going to be a rather easy, mechanical task for future American politicians. A constitutional amendment requiring balanced budgets will be enacted by then, and Congress will only need to tackle projected deficits by adjusting variable pension and Medicare rates – for those retired – which will have replaced the current models for Social Security and Medicare. And if worst comes to worst, there will be room for additional cuts from the budget of an already octomated military which by then will lack any hegemonic designs as other major world powers claim their legitimate stakes and defend their grounds. That’s my prognostication as we close 2011, a year of much turmoil around the world, and one with a hopeful spark for change in the United States of America, as Wall Street’s macabre face slowly becomes unveiled.
Continuing our tradition of listing what according to Zero Hedge readers were the key news events of the year for the third year in a row (2009 and 2010 can be found here and here), we present, as is now customary, the most popular posts of the year as determined by the number of page views, or said otherwise - by the readers themselves. So without further ado, here are this year's top 20.
Wearing a shirt that only a mother could love, Charles Biderman of TrimTabs offers his insightful perspective on the year ahead. Against the backdrop of a fog-bound Sausalito, Biderman sees only one path over the medium-term for Gold (up) as developed market central bankers print their respective fiat currencies and emerging market central bankers horde the one true sound money alternative. Just as we have been pointing out, he notes that the ECB has been QE-ing in all but name and the region faces at best a recession and at worst a depressionary breakup. Cost averaging into a Long Gold, Short EUR position is among his favorite ideas for 2012. Furthermore, he likes non-USD commodity producers in local currencies - implicitly long commodities and short the USD but it is his epiphany that a 'Miracle on Main Street' is hoped for by any and every market observer and media hack that rings truest. The hoped-for miracle that explosive growth (just as has always been the case post WWII) is just around the corner and will rescue us from the doldrums-like state we are meandering through is simply our heuristic biases run wild (together with an entire industry of asset managers and strategists who always see 10-15% appreciation ahead in broad equity markets over the next year). Until there is a total restructuring of developed market economies to the point where entrepreneurs are encouraged to act and where government spending is 'closer' to government income and not to 'wish fulfillment', there can be no jump-start to growth. Political will remains bereft of desire to do anything but kick the can down the road - and unfortunately, that can is getting bigger and heavier by the minute.
The Wall Street mantra of stocks for the long run is beginning to get a little stale. If Abbey Joseph Cohen had been right for the last twelve years, the S&P 500 would be 4,000. For this level of accuracy, she is paid millions. Her 2011 prediction of 1,500 only missed by16%. The S&P 500 began the year at 1,258 and hasn’t budged. The lowest prediction from the Wall Street shysters at the outset of the year was 1,333, with the majority between 1,400 and 1,500. The same Wall Street clowns are now being quoted in the mainstream media predicting a 10% to 15% increase in stock prices in 2012, despite the fact we are headed back into recession, China’s property bubble has burst, and Europe teeters on the brink of dissolution. They lie on behalf of their Too Big To Tell the Truth employers by declaring stocks undervalued, when honest analysts such as Jeremy Grantham, John Hussman and Robert Shiller truthfully report that stocks are overvalued and will provide pitiful returns over the next year and the next decade.
With the S&P 500 cash index closing 2011 down for the year (admittedly down 0.003181% is just 0.003181%, but it is also down),having traveled a remarkable 3240 total points from close-to-close over the course of the year, we look across asset classes and notable markets as we reflect on an increasingly intervention-driven and gap-heavy uber-correlated global investing framework. UK Gilts, 10Y Treasuries, Gold, and Oil outperformed (rebased to USD terms) while Greek bonds, Copper, Emerging Market stocks, and Asia Ex-Japan stocks underperformed. The Dollar closed almost 1% higher on the year, the EUR down 2.6% versus the USD as the CRB Commodity Index closed -6.67% for the year. Japanese stocks and bonds had a tough year. US investment grade bonds outperformed high yield bonds. There is much to discuss and we open the thread for any and all discussions...
As we pop the corks of our proverbial champagne this weekend with an eye to a better year ahead, perhaps it is worth thinking about these 11 incredible trends that have evolved in a rather disturbing manner over the last 11 years. As John Lohman points out, the 21st century has not been pretty for ongoing centrally planned attempts to defer the 30 year overdue mean reversion.
By now everyone has heard the parable explaining how the entire European bailout, courtesy of near-infinite fractional reserve banking, can be taken care of using one €100 bill. Or so the yet again flawed economist thinking went. Unfortunately, this was just a parable, and a massively flawed one at that. As the below interaction between a ZH reader and his broker elucidates, here is what this idealized story would look like in the real world, that as we explained before, is drowning in about $21.2 trillion in excess debt.
The genius of globalization is not in how it “works”, but in how it DOESN’T work. Globalization chains mismatched cultures together through circumstance and throws us into the deep end of the pool. If one sinks, we all sink, enslaving us with interdependency. The question one must ask, then, is if all sovereign economies are currently tied together in the same way? The answer is no, not anymore. Certain countries have moved to insulate themselves from the domino effect of debt implosion, one of the primary examples being China. Since at least 2005, China has been taking the exact steps required to counter the brunt of a global debt collapse; not enough to make it untouchable, but enough that its infrastructure will survive. One could even surmise that China’s actions indicate a foreknowledge of the events that would eventually escalate in 2008. How they knew is hard to say, but if the available evidence causes you to lean towards collapse as a Hegelian creation (and it should if you are paying any attention), then China’s activity begins to make perfect sense. If a globalist insider told you that in a few short years the two most powerful financial empires in the world were going to topple like bowling pins under the weight of their own liabilities, what would you do? Probably separate yourself as much as possible from the diseased dynamic and construct your own replacement system. This is what China has done…
Earlier in the week, we discussed at length the funding gaps that various European sovereign nations face as the gap between supply and coupon/redemptions can't be assumed to be rolled away (and Europe faces EUR43.5bn of net cash-flow surplus from sovereigns into the 'market'). In order to better comprehend the timeline, Morgan Stanley has published both the complete issuance calendar for European bonds and bills over the next five weeks as well as a breakdown of the flows that are dominated by next week and the first week of February. It seems the market this week is starting to reprice for this risk in Italy and France not being able to roll so easily (and perhaps front-run that 'cash-flow' into US Treasuries as a haven) as the latter faces a considerable supply and flow on Thursday January 5th.