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The "Insider Threat Program" And The Government's War On Whistleblowers

The Obama Administration’s Orwellian government employee snitch network, dubbed the “Insider Threat Program,” first made headlines about a year ago. Fast forward a year, and it appears that several members of Congress are also becoming increasingly concerned. Some are starting to ask questions, but as usual, the “most transparent administration in history” is entirely nontransparent. What is clear since the Edward Snowden revelations is that the government has zero interest in reining in these programs. It merely wants to make sure the public can never learn about government criminality in the future. Hence the aggressive “war on whistleblowers.”



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You Know It's The New Normal When...

Two quick quick anecdotes about the new (ab)normal.



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America The Divided: Everyone Knows We Have Problems But There Is Very Little Agreement On Solutions

A house divided against itself will surely fall.  America is more divided today than it has been in decades, and the deep divisions that are tearing us apart continue to get even worse.  In fact, a newly released Rasmussen Reports national survey discovered that 67 percent of voters believe that America is even more divided now than it was four years ago. What most Americans can agree on is that we are facing tremendous problems as a nation.  Unfortunately, there is very little agreement on what the solutions to our problems are. 



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Food Inflation Watch: California Farmers' Water Costs Surge 700% After Government Cuts Supply

When we reported on the government's decisiosn to withhold irrigation water to California for the first time in 54 years, we warned there would be consequences: farmers are hit hardest as "they're all on pins and needles trying to figure out how they're going to get through this." Fields will go unplanted (supply lower mean food prices higher), or farmers will pay top dollar for water that's on the market (and those costs can only be passed on via higher food prices). Sure enough, as Bloomberg reports, farmers in California’s Central Valley, the world’s most productive agricultural region, are paying as much as 10 times more for water than they did before the state’s record drought cut supply.



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Japanese Inflation Holds Near 23 Year Highs As Food, Energy, & TV Costs Soar

Japanese CPI printed 3.6% in June, modestly down from May's 3.7% YoY, but hotter than the expected 3.5% YoY analysts predicted. If you don't eat food or use energy then inflation merely bit 2.3% of your income this year but if you did then you may have noticed that energy costs are 9.1% higher YoY, TVs +8.0%, and Food +4.1% (both showing no signs of making Japan's Misery Index any less, well, miserable). PPI also printed at 3.6% (23 year highs). So when the Japanese politicians say "Abenomics is well on its way to achieving its goals..." they must mean 'of lowering living standards for all Japanese people'.



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The Chart That Keeps Mario Draghi Up At Night

With peripheral European sovereign bond yields at or near record lows, no matter how much GDP gets downgraded (Italy), banking system collapses (Portugal), or loan losses surge (Spain); things must be great for borrowers, right? Wrong! And this is exactly what keeps Mario Draghi up at night... In fact, as the following dismal reality chart shows, real corporate lending spreads are at record highs... crushing the credit-created-growth dream of a European Renaissance.



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CEO Of Russia's 2nd Largest Gold Producer Is "Horrified" At Market Manipulation

The ongoing transition of gold price manipulation from conspiracy theory to conspiracy fact just escalated as Bloomberg reports, Peter Hambro, chairman of Russia's 2nd largest gold producer Petropavlovsk Plc, said he was "horrified" by the manipulation of the London fix given its importance to the industry. One wonders just how many of these individuals, involved in the manipulation, Hambro is dinner-party friends with?



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The Ten Plagues That Are Hitting America Right Now

Why are so many plagues hitting the United States all of a sudden? Yes, one can always point out bad stuff that is happening somewhere in the country, but right now we are facing a nightmarish combination of crippling drought, devastating wildfires, disastrous viruses, dying crops and superbugs that scientists don’t know how to kill.



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Creation Of S&P 500 ETFs Rises To All Time High

As if trying to figure out the impact of the central banks' balance sheets and China's record debt creation on stocks wasn't enough of a complexity (actually it really isn't that complex) for a market where fundamentals haven't mattered in 5 years, there is also the issue of ETF basket creation, best known for the daily 3:30 pm ramp when ETFs catch up with their underlying components in a rising market, giving it all a procyclical turbo boost. It is here that SocGen reports that in the past fortnight, there was record equity ETF creation, mostly focusing on the S&P 500.



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Iraqi Oil In Context: 60% Of OPEC Growth Expectations

While Iraqi crude represents about 4.4% of world production, or around 3.4 mmbd (5th largest in the world); enabling investors to shrug at any fears that ISIS will spread to the South and interrupt this supply (since it will be 'contained'); what many do not comprehend is that in such a tight oil market as we currently have, Goldman warns that as much as 60% of OPEC’s expected capacity growth over the next five years to come from Iraq. Production losses so far have been fairly small, and have only been felt domestically. However, the larger impact of the conflict potentially lies in the medium to long term.



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Steve "Debt-Is-Good" Liesman Meets Barack "Hope-Is-Better" Obama - Live Feed

Grab your popcorn as The Socialist Singularity comes to be... We are sure Steve Liesman will ask his 'economics reporter' questions while cow-towing to his glorious leader's position on job-destroying 'minimum wage' increases, unpatriotic (though legal) inversions, Fed-driven inequality, and the massive and unprecedented divergence between "bubble" markets and the minions that make it up... always remember "debt-is-good" but "hope-is-better."



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Liberian Man Tested For Ebola In World's Fourth Most Populous City

Yesterday, when reporting on the latest tragic development in the wost ever Ebola outbreak to sweep through west Africa, namely that the head doctor tasked with containing the virus had himself contracted it, we commented that the "only good news, if any, is that even as the epidemic which has raged for months, and now appears to be out of control, it has not spilled out of Africa into other continents yet." That may not be the case for much longer following an update earlier today by Reuters that a Liberian man in his 40s is being tested for the deadly Ebola virus in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, a megacity of 21 million people, the Lagos State Health Ministry said on Thursday.



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Here Is How Amazon's Ugliest Quarter In Years Looked Like In Six Charts

Just when we thought "the world's marketplace" Amazon couldn't possibly report any uglier quarterly numbers, it goes and proves us wrong. First, it reported an EPS loss of $0.27, vs the $0.15 expected as a result of ($126) million in Net Income. The operating loss was "only" $15 million compared to an expectation of $64 million, however this appears the result of pulling forward wales into Q2 since the Company also announced that the Q3 operating loss would be a whopping $410-$810 million, what would be the biggest operating loss in years. That this will happen even as AMZN expects net sales to grow between 15% and 26% from a year ago to $19.7 - $21.5 billion is truly disturbing.



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Russia Accuses US Of Fabricating MH17 Evidence As US Reveals More "Evidence" Of Russian Military Involvement

The farce of facts continues to grow as Ukraine's national security council head says US is wrong and claims to have proof MH17 was shot down by Russians... and then the US State Department unleashes another statement of alleged 'proof' that Russia is sending rockets to separatists and firing on Ukraine's military from within Russia. And then Russia hit back, blasting Washington's claims that pro-Russian rebels fired a missile that hit the plane on July 17 "mostly cited social networks" and did not correspond to reality.



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Spot The Lone Objector

Yesterday, Navi Pillay, the UN rights chief told an emergency session of the council on Wednesday that Israel's military actions in Gaza could amount to war crimes. Shortly thereafter, the 47-member council voted (and adopted) a draft resolution titled "Ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory" to conduct an investigation whether Israel is indeed engaging in war crimes. Note: this was a vote just to conduct an investigation, nothing more - nothing less, no military intervention, no aid, nothing:just an attempt to get some information aside from the constant propaganda barrage. 29 states voted in favour of the investigation and 17 abstained, including many EU states. 1 voted against. Guess which one.



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