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RANsquawk - Week Ahead - 18th August 2014



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Ferguson Riots Again: Police, Looters Exchange Teargas , Rubber Bullets, Molotov Cocktails: Live Webcast

UPDATE: Shots fired... Multiple gun shots heard - police: "leave or be arrested."

After more than a week of violent confrontations, tensions continues in Ferguson (following the death of Mike Brown - shot at least 6 times, twice in the head). The second night of quasi-martial-law in the Missouri town has once again erupted into riots (the third night in a row) as militarized police response just hours ahead of the midnight curfew. Protesters have looted stores and restaurants (including a McDonalds) and the once again heavily-armed police forces have responded in force with tear-gas and rubber bullets (to which protesters are responding with Molotov cocktails and returning gas canisters). This shows no signs of de-escalation at all as crowds chant "who polices the cops?" CNN reports at least one protester hit by rubber bullets and multiple injuries.



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Ron Paul: "What Have We Accomplished In Iraq?"

The humanitarian situation was cynically manipulated by the Obama administration --  and echoed by the US media -- to provide a reason for the president to attack Iraq again. This time it was about yet another regime change, breaking Kurdistan away from Iraq and protection of the rich oil reserves there, and acceptance of a new US military presence on the ground in the country.  President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress is completely silent. No declaration, no authorization, not even a debate. After 24 years we are back where we started. Isn’t it about time to re-think this failed interventionist policy? Isn’t it time to stop trusting the government and its war propaganda? Isn’t it time to leave Iraq alone?



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Korean Kombat Caption Contest

Uh....?



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Police Militarization In Ferguson, Missouri

Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone“?



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Passport's John Burbank: "The Next Crisis May Look Like A 1987 Crash"

Asked what could happen during the next crisis, John Burbank's response: "it could fall fast"... "there is the possibility of a 1987 dislocation that does not reflect long-term economic stress but could reflect illiquidity in the market." His conclusion: "When there is a signal to sell, there won't be a lot of buying." That is assuming selling hasn't been made illegal by then or, as the recent bankruptcy of Banco Espirito Santo showed, if and when the time to sell comes, all sellable stocks are suddenly halted indefinitely while a committee of conflicted banks decides behind the scenes that no event of default has actually occurred.



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Chartporn: 18 Charts Exploring How The Ageing World Will Shape The Global Economy

Curious how the demographics of an aging world increasingly impact the economy, the spending, consumption and saving patterns, the earnings and wealth potential of various age groups, and the amount of pension funds available to satisfy an ever growing pie of future welfare recipients? Then the following 18 charts are for just you.



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China Contagion: Diamonds & Wine Plunge To 4-Year Lows

As classic Ferraris break records on the shores at Pebble Beach, the "poor" rich-man's (and girl's) best friend (fine-wine and diamonds) has tumbled to 4-year lows. On the heels of a crackdown on corruption in China, as Bloomberg notes, Fine Wine prices have plunged over 30% from July 2011 highs and the end of the "show-off" era in Xi's new normal has sent 1 carat dimaond prices also down over 30% from their highs. It would appear the world's wealthiest are done with such small increments of wealth as fine wines and diamonds, preferring $100 million apartments and $38 million ferraris.



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When Venn Diagrams Go Horribly Wrong

Or maybe just one of those rare occasions when the truth slips through?



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Goldman On The Consequences Of Recent Geopolitical Events

The current US air strikes in Iraq are unlikely to have a significant impact on defense spending or oil prices, Goldman Sachs writes, unless the scale of the conflict changes considerably. Evidence from past US conflicts that were similar in scale also suggests little impact on confidence and at most mixed evidence of a flight-to-safety effect in financial markets. The exchange of sanctions with Russia - a relatively minor US trading partner - is also likely to have only a modest impact on the US economy. Of course, Goldman caveats, both situations are highly unpredictable; as they expect little reaction to recent events from Fed officials, who have generally not discussed conflicts of this magnitude unless accompanied by other economic concerns, such as a large rise in oil prices.



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Charting Poverty In Ferguson: Then And Now

While there have been many socio-economic 'explanations for the recent events in Ferguson, many of which have exceeded the realm of the factual and have brazenly encroached on feelings, emotions, heartstrings, and so on, the unpleasant reality is that much of what has transpired not only in the small 21,000-person St. Louis suburban community, but what is taking place across all of America has to do with a far simpler phenomenon: the rise of poverty and the destruction of America's middle class.



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Guest Post: If Not Trusting This Market Makes Me An Idiot, Then Call Me Crazy!

I was left slack-jawed as I listened to an interview on financial media between the host and guest. I have always enjoyed as well as respected the host even though many times I may totally disagree. However, as for the guest being interviewed, not only did I disagree: I lost quite a bit of respect for. During the interview the questions were posed as to why people (investors et al) harbor these feelings of angst as to whether or not they should get in, get out, etc,, etc. The guest then went on to use data points, math, trend references, and any other metric available within a snake oil sales bag as to prove his point: Where people not believing in this market rally along with those who’ve not participated are, (and I quote) “Idiots.” I have only one answer to that statement: What you’ve just demonstrated is exactly why people with more than half a brain aren’t buying your message: You are insulting their/our intelligence.



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The Geography Of Jobs: Mapping The Recovery

The current 'boom'in energy production, the hangover from the housing bubble, and the long-term decline in manufacturing employment are combining to shift the employment profile of the US economy. But as Deloitte Unioversity press notes, the national story of slow recovery obscures the more complicated regional picture: As is the case during most business cycles, the pace of recovery has been very uneven among the states. At present, only 16 states plus the District of Columbia have employment rates at least one percent higher than they were prior to the start of the recession. Overall, as the following chart shows, Americans have been struggling to find work, but some states and industries have had an easier time than others.



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Obama Putting Vacation On Hold, Returning To Washington For "Unspecified Meetings"

Earlier we joked that "it is rumored, although unlikely, that a city devolving into a state of emergency and actual curfew, will be enough for the president to take a break from his golf game and make a teleprompted statement later today." Just a few short hours later, in a stunning development and in what may well be a first for the president, Obama announced he planned to take a break in the middle of his Martha's Vineyard vacation and return to Washington on Sunday night for "unspecified meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other advisers."



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US Military Releases Clip Of Assault On US Humvee (In ISIS Possession)

Or, as we like to call it, a promotion for the latest Keynesian GDP-boosting voodoo cult: the busted Humvee falacy.



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