On July 12 of 2014 as part of Operation Protective Edge, Israel launched a ground assault into Gaza which promptly led to a mini-war in the Strip that left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead and reduced vast areas to rubble: a "war" which many speculated was nothing but a massacre by highly skilled, trained, and ethically drained Israeli soldiers who used civilians for target practice. Yesterday we got confirmation of just that. In a 242-page report, soldiers recount how they fire artillery at random houses to avenge fallen comrades, shoot at innocent civilians because they were bored and watch armed drones attack a pair of women. That and much more.
"I am not very optimistic about the fate of mankind as while our problems tend to evolve in exponential ways, our attempts at solving them move in linear fashion. That is true as much for the problems we ourselves create as it is for those that – seem to – ‘simply happen’. I think it would be very beneficial for us if we were to admit to our limits when it comes to solving large scale issues, because that might change the behavior we exhibit when creating these issues. The human capacity for denial and deceit plays a formidable role in this. We’re simply not smart enough to acknowledge our own limitations. Therefore, as Meadows says: "we are going to evolve through crisis, not through proactive change.""
To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, anyone who wants the government and Federal Reserve to create a housing recovery, deserves to get it good and hard, like a four by four to the side of their head. Subprime mortgages, subprime auto loans, and subprime student loans driven by preposterously low interest rates are the liquefying foundation of this fake economic recovery. Most rational people would agree that loaning money to people who will eventually default is not a good idea. But it is the underpinning of everything the Fed and government apparatchiks have done to keep this farce going a little while longer. It will not end well – Again.
In its efforts to 'protect' its citizens from terrorists, France deemed it necessary in March to "fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy," and drastically reduced the public's freedom and privacy to spend. Today, that freedom and privacy took another blow as the French government passed "Le Patriot Act" dramatically beefing up the government's spying powers.
For the first time since the first week of January, API reports a 1.5 million barrel inventory draw (against last week's 4.2mm build). This also comes with a 336k draw from Cushing following on from last week's 162k draw. Oil prices have responded by pushing higher, though it appears most of this was priced in.
There is one thing riskier than investing in a free market: investing in a rigged market when you think the central bank has your back. At some point, the free market returns with a vengeance, like a coiled spring made out of pure risk. That time may be coming soon. When you devalue money and distort the supposed risk-free rate, you devalue every aspect of the capital structure, and of society itself.
The great irony of free-market capitalism is that the only way to establish an enduring security is to embrace innovation and adaptation, the very processes that generate short-term insecurity. Attempting to guarantee security leads to risk being distributed to others, or concentrated within the system itself. When the accumulated risk manifests, the system collapses.
As with everything in life, there are winners and losers, and the recent rout in the oil market is no different. The four flip sides below should be closely monitored in the coming months, for the oil market will be impacted by these factors – regardless of if they change their tune, or become a broken record.
With NIRP having turned traditional risk-free assets into guaranteed losers, investors have poured more than $9 billion into junk bond ETFs YTD, and while common sense dictates that buying at the top of an epic HY bubble just ahead of a rate hike cycle and against a backdrop characterized by disappearing liquidity in the secondary market for corporate credit is a fool's errand, most investors feel they have little choice.
Ben Bernanke’s skin is as thin, apparently, as is his comprehension of honest economics. The emphasis is on the “honest” part because he is a fount of the kind of Keynesian drivel that passes for economics in the financially deformed world that the Bernank did so much to bring about.
Gas prices at the pump have not risen this dramatically at this time of year since 2007. The last 3 months have seen pump prices soar almost 30%. The last 7 times that gas prices have accelerated this fast, stocks have corrected. Given the plethora of excuse-makers saying hoiw low gas prices were "unequivocally good" for everyone, we can only assume that surging gas prices are "unequivocally bad" for everyone?
Despite the exuberant surge in crude oil prices (as Yemen-Saudi tensions rise), Energy stocks are tumbling off the opening squeeze. In a delayed reaction, Shale stocks are now all in shambles as Einhorn's presentation seems to be sinking in...
Americans might be quite surprised to know that even with all the U.S. Government sanctions and threats of war with Russia, America still imports a significant amount of petroleum from the former communist country. How much petroleum does the United States import from Russia? Actually, a lot more when we focus on net imports...
For the first time in 4 years, Appaloosa Management's David Tepper is not the highest-earning hedge fund manager in the world. Plunging from No.1 to tied-for-11th (with a mere $400 million earned last year) Tepper appears to have suddenly found investing difficult now that The Fed has stopped printing money (up just 2.2%). What is more ironic, perhaps, is that the other alleged beneficiary of Fed largesse (and recent hirer or blogger Ben Bernanke) - Citadel tops the list with Ken Griffin making $1.3 billion last year.