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"Happy" Labor Day

As the weekend's celebration of 'labor' in America continues, the following cartoon seemed to sum it all up perfectly...



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Keynesian Central Banking Is An Economic Scourge: More Evidence From Japan

If Japan’s results and programs hold any true difference, it is only that they are further down the same road than the rest of us. As Japanification continues in the US and Europe, we are gaining good observations about what lays ahead until the political will to use that same textbook time and time again is exhausted, or, more likely, removed.



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Putin Calls For "Immediate Talks" Over Eastern Ukraine "Statehood"

Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly said that he does not favor the break-up of Ukraine - but only greater autonomy for the East, appears to have changed course rather dramatically today. In a speech broadcast on Russian TV, the Russian leader stated "we need to immediately begin substantive talks... on questions of the political organisation of society and statehood for southeastern Ukraine." As The Washington Post reports, use of the word "statehood" reflects a major shift in Kremlin policy towards 'Novorossiya' - it would be a direct challenge not only to Kiev but also to Western European nations and the United States, which have been trying to force Moscow to back down. While not directly addressing the latest round of sanctions chatter, Putin concluded, perhaps ominously, "they should have known that Russia cannot stand aside when people are being shot almost at point-blank."



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"Dawn Of Libya" Islamist Militia Group Seizes US Embassy In Tripoli, Holds Pool Party

Probably the 'oddest' headline of the day but in yet another show of disdain towards US military might, the Islamist militia group known as "Dawn Of Libya" has 'secured' an annex of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. As Reuters reports, the United States evacuated its embassy in Tripoli on July 26, driving diplomats across the border into Tunisia; but a YouTube video showed the breach of the vacated diplomatic facility by an armed group, with fighters seen milling around a swimming pool. A rebel takeover of the compound would now deliver another symbolic blow to U.S. policy toward Libya, which Western governments fear is teetering toward becoming a failed state.



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Ukrainian Coast Guard Attacked Near Russian Border, Some Killed

A Ukraine military spokesman has confirmed that some sailors were killed and more injured when 2 Ukraine Coast Guard cutters came under attack by artillery from onshore near the village of Bezimenne (close to the Russian Border). This is believed to be the first such incident since the conflict began.



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The Real Cost Of War

As President Obama prepares to unleash his new 'strategery' to deal with ISIS, Syria, Putin... and so on, we thought a subtle reminder of the real cost of war was prescient...



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Currency Reform In Ancient Rome

The global economic downturn of 2008, in particular its monetary facet, readily invites comparison between the troubles of the modern world and those of the Roman Empire; just as Western currencies have declined precipitously in value since their commodity backing was removed in stages starting roughly a century ago, Roman currencies were also troubled, and present a cautionary tale. The Roman coin in use through most of the empire was the denarius, which demonstrated a persistent decline in value, starting from the time of transition from Republic to Empire, and continuing until its decimation during the Crisis of the Third Century AD. Although efforts by Diocletian taken after the monetary collapse are commonly associated with Roman economic reform, there were other efforts by earlier, lesser known emperors that suddenly and unexpectedly improved the silver content and value of the denarius. Firsthand accounts and archeological findings provide sufficient detail to allow examination of these short, if noteworthy, periods of voluntary restorative policies – and their architects.



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The Hard Life Of The First American

Native Americans appear to have been in a constant state of warfare, with many tribes becoming extinct well before the arrival of Columbus. Not only did these tribes have to compete for food but also genes, where problems associated with inbreeding likely led to the common practice of raiding one another for women and slaves. The arrival of the Europeans did not make things any better, and not before long they were also fighting among each other.



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This Is How ISIS Is Building An Airforce

The Islamic State is nothing if not ambitious. Despite no record of current 'airplane' assets in their annual reports, ISIS has begun detaining and forcing Syrian pilots to train militant fighters to fly stolen aircraft. According to CNN Arabic, the pilots (and their planes and helicopters) were abducted when the terrorist group gained control of Tabqa military base. It appears that if beheadings, executions, and whippings are not enough to strike fear into the hearts of the locals, then (just as America is tryiung to do), an air assault will greatly demoralize. We can only imagine how this changes Obama's strategy (and just where are all the rest of Syria and Iraq's airplanes stored?)



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Corporations Join Droves Renouncing US Citizenship

Don’t be surprised to lose if you don’t make an effort at being competitive. And if you go out of your way to make yourself less competitive, expect to lose. If that sounds like simple common sense, that’s because it is. But it’s also exactly what the US has been doing for years...



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A Rare Glimpse Inside The NY Fed's Favorite 'Quote-Stuffing' Hedge Fund: Citadel

As regular readers are well aware, when it comes to "more than arms length" equity market intervention in New Normal markets, the New York Fed's preferred "intermediary" of choice to, how should one say, boost investor sentiment aka "protect from a plunge", is none other than Chicago HFT powerhouse, Citadel. Recently we discovered that the true culprit behind the May 2010 Flash Crash was not Waddell & Reed, but quote stuffing. The most recent revelation for Citadel is that quote stuffing is not just some byproduct of some "innocuous" HFT strategy, as none other than the Nasdaq has now stated on the record, that the most leveraged hedge fund (at 9x regulatory to net assets), and the third largest after Bridgewater and Millennium, used quote stuffing as a "trading strategy." The following 2 clips give a sense of what goes on from day to day inside the firm that trades more volume than the NYSE every day...



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Recovery? 3 "Uncomfortable Truth" Charts

Presented with little comment aside to suggest one scratch beneath the thinning veneer of record nominal stock prices every once in a while to take the temperature of the ugly reality that no one is talking about...



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French President Says "There Is Risk Of War" As Europe Plans Additional Russia Sanctions

Confirming Europe's realization just how serious events are, and how far down the rabbit hole Europe's bureaucrats have gone, French President Francois Hollande, while stressing that a failure by Russia to reverse a flow of weapons and troops into eastern Ukraine would force the bloc to impose new economic measures i.e., nothing new, it is what he said just after that indicated a dramatic change in rhetoric: "Are we going to let the situation worsen, until it leads to war?" Hollande said at a news conference. "Because that's the risk today. There is no time to waste."



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US Foreign Policy Then & Now (In 1 Cartoon)

What a difference a year makes...



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Taupe: It’s Not Just For The Oval Office Anymore

Words matter, the way they are said can matter even more, yet what is just as important is the posture, and yes – that can include even your choice of attire. Agree or not with the policies, but the decision for that suit in our opinion was anything but a faux pas, it was intentional... It was sending a visual cue to all that we are not fiercely red, white, and blue. We are taupe.



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