Reading through the media coverage one might think that anyone wanting to come to the US can do so with relative ease. After all, there is an ongoing debate on providing amnesty to illegals and the system seems to be so overloaded at the border down south that why not just take your chances? However, for skilled professionals and expats the reality is quite different. These days employment opportunities in the US need to be carefully balanced against subjecting yourself to US laws and regulations, some of which are unique in the developed world and can have serious consequences on your wealth, wellbeing and even personal freedoms.... As Churchill once said, "Americans will always do the right thing once they run out of options". I just hope us foreigners will still be around to see it.
Would you like to have a digital identity card that is automatically issued to you at birth? In one European nation, residents use such a card when they go to the hospital, when they do their banking, when they go shopping and even when they vote. This card has become so popular that this particular European country actually plans to start issuing them to millions of non-citizens all over the planet who request them. Never heard about this? Neither had I before this week. The Economist is calling for the entire planet to adopt this “national identification system” that the little nation of Estonia has adopted. The Economist is touting all of the “benefits” of a “national identification card”, but are there dangers as well? Could adopting such a system potentially open the door for greater government tyranny than we have ever known before?
Recovery Of Malaysian Airlines Black Box Caught On Tape: Separatists To Hand Over To International DelegationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/20/2014 - 10:20
With the rabbit hole of conspiracies getting deeper by the hour, video has emerged showing what appears to be the "black box" flight data recorder from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 being taken from the crash scene. As NBC reports, the men in the video are wearing Ukrainian Emergency Ministry uniforms, but a senior Ukrainian official told a news conference Sunday that rebels had taken the black boxes. This fits with reports from The Hill that pro-Russian separatists have located the black boxes for the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet and will hand them over to international authorities, according to separatist leader Alexander Borodai. With the US having offered more "proof" that Russia was involved, perhaps some facts from the Black Box will help clarify details in this dreadful situation... though we are not confident.
While the world's attention is focused on the tragic events in Ukraine, the fighting in Gaza has entered its 13th, and most deadly day, with at least 50 Palestinians killed on Sunday by Israeli shelling in a Gaza neighborhood, where "bodies were strewn in the street and thousands fled for shelter to a hospital packed with wounded, witnesses and health officials said." Reuters reports that the mass casualties in Shejaia, in northeast Gaza, were the heaviest since Israel launched its offensive, since expanded to a land offensive including tanks and troops. This has brought the total dead count on the Gaza side to over 400. According to elderly locals, today's Israeli shelling was the fiercest they had seen since the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel captured Gaza. Shifa hospital's director, Naser Tattar, said 17 children, 14 women and four elderly were among the 50 dead, and about 400 people were wounded in the Israeli assault.
As the world slowly turns against US Dollar hegemony, it appears the BRICS are pressing to fill any gaps. Having created the BRICS Bank "alternate to The West-controlled IMF or World Bank," Xinhua reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes the BRICS mechanism has been fully developed and can now transform into a political alliance to "reform the international financial system."
Three more plague cases were found in Colorado, a week after the first infection of the deadliest form of the disease was reported in the state in a decade. The man initially reported with pneumonic plague on July 11 is hospitalized. Two of the new cases also had pneumonic plague, while the third had a milder form. All four cases may be linked to the original man’s dog, which died from the illness, state health officials said.
Flint may be Michigan’s second city to plunge into bankruptcy unless retirees accept cuts in health benefits that threaten to unravel a balanced budget. As Crain's Detroit reports, Emergency Manager Darnell Earley (Flint’s third emergency leader since it was placed under state control in 2011) warned "If we have no ability to mitigate the cost of retiree health care, that’s going to make it very difficult for the city to remain financially stable over the next few years." As Eric Scorsone notes, "Flint's at the forefront, but a lot of cities are on the same train, and that train is headed for the cliff."
"Ukraine's SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency."
With a straight face, Barack Obama has been repeatedly telling us that the world is "more stable" and "less violent" than ever. In fact, he believes that this is the best time in history to be alive because of how peaceful and stable everything is. Just this week, his press secretary told the media that this administration has "substantially improved" the "tranquility of the global community". Apparently these guys don't think that we will notice all of the violence, war and terrorism constantly raging all around us.
Despite the best efforts of The Fed, its apologists, and the commission-taking talking-heads to persuade the world that the US economy is picking up and set to reach escape velocity any minute... the fact is, the US economy (judged on data not fantasy) is hurting. Consensus expectations for 2014 US GDP growth have collapsed from over 3.00% to a mere 1.7% now. But what is more critical is the incessant bleating that data is picking up and suggests a 2nd half recovery... it doesn't. US Macro surprise data has been negative for over 21 weeks... the longest such spell of disappointment since Lehman.
If one looks past headline figures, things are not really getting better. As shown in Figure 1, real disposable income per capita in the U.S. has increased only modestly since the Great Recession. However, all of this increase is due to Government Transfers, not from an improvement in the real economy.
Seven independent oil companies have been ordered to halt state-approved wastewater injection work this week, according to The Bakersfied Californian, The cessation of fracking is out of concern they may be contaminating Kern County drinking water. As ProPublica reports, The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) is warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.”
On an income-adjusted basis, New Yorkers are the most miserable Americans while citizens of Lafayette, LA are the happiest. As MarketWatch reports, based on a Harvard study which 'adjusts' for age, sex, race, income and other factors, the following map indicates where the happiest Americans are (blue/green) and are not (red).
"The head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Friday that financial markets were "perhaps too upbeat" because high unemployment and high debt in Europe could drag down investment and hurt future growth prospects." To summarize: first the BIS, then the Fed and now the IMF are not only warning there is either a broad market bubble or a localized one, impacting primarily the momentum stocks (which is ironic in a new normal in which momentum ignition has replaced fundamentals as the main price discovery mechanism), they are doing so ever more frequently.