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This Seems To Be Going Well...

This is a trend that has outlasted three Presidents and six Congresses. It’s not about a single politician, or even ALL the politicians. It’s about the system itself.



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Washington's Bait-And-Switch: NATO Armed Kiev Under Cover Of Ceasefire

Just over ten days ago, as the pro-independence forces in east Ukraine were on the march with significant gains on the battlefield, a ceasefire was signed in Minsk, Belarus. It turns out to be a grotesque sleight of hand, with Kiev receiving guarantees at the September 5, NATO summit in Wales that NATO members would provide the military equipment to finish the pro-independence forces in the east after the ceasefire gave time to re-group a badly beaten, largely conscript Ukrainian army.



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What's The "Best" Way To Make A 10% Return?

Aside from the "sure thing" of buying the Alibaba IPO, achieving a 10% yield return in the new normal world requires leverage and excess risk-taking. To compare the risk/reward of various assets, Citi accounts for haircuts and leverage costs of the typical investor and finds an investors needs a 1.9x leverage in the S&P 500, 8.1x leverage in Treasuries, and 2.3x leverage in high-yield to achieve (based on historical norms) the required return. However, after accounting for downside risks, high-yield cash and leveraged loans both top the S&P 500 as the best way to meet a 10% bogey yield.



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Subprime Is Back With A Vengeance

This is where our economies are perverted. It’s the final excesses and steps of a broke society. It’s madness to the power of infinity. The only thing that’s certain is that in the end, your money will all be gone. That’s how Mario Draghi ‘saves’ the EU for a few more weeks, and that’s how the big boys of finance squeeze more from what little you have left (which is already much less than you think). A world headed for nowhere.



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4 C’s That Could Change The Financial World As We Know It, Again

Those 4 C’s are: Confirmation, Crisis, Contagion, Catastrophe.



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The U.S. National Debt Has Grown By More Than A Trillion Dollars In The Last 12 Months

The idea that the Obama administration has the budget deficit under control is a complete and total lie.  The U.S. national debt has actually grown by more than a trillion dollars in less than 12 months.  We continue to wildly run up debt as if there is no tomorrow, and by doing so we are destroying the future of this nation.



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Ukraine Currency Crashes To Record Low As IMF Blasts "Gross Abuses"

Despite celebrations of de-escalations and truce in US equity markets (by asset-gathering commission-takers), the situation continues to go from bad to worse in the nation almost forgotten now that ISIS is stealing American headlines. The Hryvnia plunged 7.5% this morning - its biggest single-day drop on record - following the release of a scathing IMF letter and devaluation warnings from BofA. The IMF blasted Ukraine's "premature emission of extra money," and demanded it "immediately halt these gross abuses," as BofA warns of risk of "10-20% devaluation" in the next year is high given reserves are at a "critical level."



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Economic Policy Treats Symptoms, Not Underlying Causes

The economy we have now is like a mental patient, drugged up with so many antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers that the root of his problems has become undetectable. It sounds Utopian, but economic growth really is a panacea that improves standards of living for everyone in nearly every way. But instead of pursuing economic growth, the government wastes its time with piecemeal patches, trying to plug a hole whose cause remains unabated.



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Scottish Referendum Preview: In 170 Years, Voters Chose "Independence" 88% Of The Time

Ahead of Thursday's critical Scottish Independence vote, we thought some context was worthwhile. As The Guardian notes, history shows that when people are asked, they almost always say yes to independence. Every election, country and place’s history is unique and different. Scotland is no exception. Yet, when given the opportunity, The Guardian finds countries tend to vote in favour of independence, and to do so decisively - across 50 votes since 1846, the vote for independence came out on top 88% of the time (and when the margin was small, voters always sided with independence.) But this time is different, right?



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U.S. Targets Islamic State's Lucrative Oil Smuggling Operations

Smuggled oil could be a pivotal issue for the U.S. as it seeks to destroy IS. The militant group sells oil at a reduced price – perhaps around $25 per barrel. At first, it sold the oil to middlemen, who moved the oil to Iran, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. But as IS’ operations grew, they forced out the middlemen, beat back other militant groups, and are now providing security to their own convoys of oil tanker trucks heading out of their territory to market. Air strikes may succeed in destroying vehicles and other military equipment under IS control, but cutting off the flow of money – specifically from oil smuggling – will likely go further in weakening the Islamic State.



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Citi Warns Moody's May Put France On Downgrade Review This Friday

"Downgrade risks have increased: France has been rated Aa1 with a negative outlook by Moody’s since November 2012. Given recent economic performance and various revisions to deficit projections, we believe it is now less likely that Moody’s revises its outlook to stable on Friday. Instead, we believe it is more likely that Moody’s puts France formally on a “review for possible downgrade” with a conclusion probably coming after the budget (due on 1st October)."



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Dow Hits New Record Intraday-High Ahead Of Fed & Scottish Uncertainty

Overnight weakness in Asia and Europe was shrugged off. The Dow hit all-time record highs (first since July) and the S&P broke back above 2,000 following headlines proclaiming a "stealth QE" from China (which actually hit the news during the Asia session) and chatter from WSJ's Hilsenrath that The Fed will leave the words "considerable period" in the statement tomorrow. Early weakness in stocks was ripped 25 points higher in the S&P on the back of a 97% correlation to AUDJPY (China-driven), the USD dumped to unch for the week (worst day since May), commodities all took off higher (led by Copper and Oil), and Treasuries flip-flopped to end steeper (5Y -5bps, 30Y +1bp on the week). "Most Shorted" stocks squeezed higher. HY credit compressed with stocks rally but decoupled later in the day. The Nasdaq and Russell (nearing death-cross) remain red on the week despite today's exuberance. VIX was smashed back under 13 (which makes perfect sense because there is no uncertainty this week at all). S&P closed below 2,000 and The Dow "off the highs".



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President Obama Explains Why He Is Sending 10x More Troops To Fight Ebola Than ISIS - Live Feed

As we discussed earlier, President Obama is sending 3,000 US combat troops into Ebola-fighting danger in West Africa (almost 10 times the number of non-combat troops being sent to Iraq and Syria to fight that other epidemic - ISIS). Speaking from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, we wonder if the President will stick to the line that the USA is "safe" (despite scientists predicting a 20% chance of infection here by year-end), that it is contained (despite scientists proclaiming this unprecedented and out of control), and why is the CDC telling US health-workers "now is the time to prepare."



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Preparing For All Out Iraq War: Joint Chiefs Of Staff Back US Troops In Combat "If Necessary"

Who could have seen this coming? In yet another example of untruthiness, it appears, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, President Obama would back U.S. advisers accompanying Iraqi troops in battle to combat Islamic State militants if necessary. For now, Dempsey noted, Iraqi security forces are "doing fine," but as Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe noted, "it is foolhardy for the Obama administration to tie its hands and so firmly rule out the possibility of special operators on the ground." Following Hagel's remarks that the fight will "not be an easy or a brief effort," Dempsey said if it doesn’t succeed, he would not rule out advising Obama to use U.S. ground forces.



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