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A Look Inside The World's Largest Naval Exercise

The US Navy, perhaps ironically, begins their introduction to RIMPAC by saying "The future is maritime partnerships." Of course, there is the ubiquitous hashtag (#PartnershipsMatter) and statement of fellowship, "The world’s navies must be able to come together quickly to work on common interests and things that are important worldwide." Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel have come together (including China for the first time and The US but not Russia) for the exercise. One wonders just how much 'partnerships matter' when Russia pulls the pin on its sanctions retaliation (especialy in light of the recent drills with China).



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85 Super Wealthy People Have More Money Than The Poorest 3.5 Billion Combined

The global economy is structured to systematically funnel wealth to the very top of the pyramid, and this centralization of global wealth is accelerating with each passing year. According to the United Nations, 85 super wealthy people have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion people on the planet combined. Seven out of every ten people on the planet live in countries where the gap between the wealthy and the poor has increased in the last 30 years... And when our fundamentally flawed financial system finally does collapse, it will be the poor that will suffer the worst.



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The Only Chart You Will Need To Trade Russian Sanctions

US and European financials faded notably after Europe and then US unveiled new sanctions against Russia today. Most notably, the decision to sanction Russia's largest banks (and ban trading and capital markets access) has ramifications for the global financial system's stability given the increasingly inter-connected nature of the world. For that reason, we thought Bloomberg Briefs' chart of the most exposed banking systems by nation to any systemic issues in Russia would be useful.



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Guest Post: Why Impeachment Is Necessary

The issue of impeachment is now no longer whispered about. Talk is prevalent and a recent poll indicated that 35% of the public believe the president should be impeached. Interestingly, the topic is being promoted more by Democrats than Republicans. Democrats don’t truly believe the President should be impeached, but they see it as a chance, likely their only chance, to bolster their election possibilities this November.



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Japanese Industrial Production Collapses At Fastest Rate Since 2011 Tsunami

Find the silver lining in this utter disaster... and remember, it's not moar of the same QQE as the BoJ is starting to hit its inflation mandate, misery indices are soaring, and approval ratings tumbling. Japanese Industrial Production in June fell 3.3% (almost triple the expected 1.2% drop) and the biggest plunge since March 2011 (the tsunami). This is the 10th miss in the last 12 months. Simply put, while the progressives would dearly love it not to be true, Abenomics is an epic fail leaving Japan readying itself for yet another lost decade (if it makes it that far without Abe going full militarist).



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Italian Police Grab $150 Million Assets From Nomura For Defrauding Government

While Goldman's "derivative-based financial advice" to Greece before the EU enabling them to join the party seemingly went unpunished, Nomura has not been so lucky. Having created complex derivatives transactions to 'help' Sicily's regional government, which have now produced major losses for the duped managers, The FT reports Nomura has had property and cash worth $150 million seized related to allegations that the investment bank defrauded the regional government of Sicily with the sale of derivatives in 2002.



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On Dominoes, WMDs And Putin's "Aggression": Imperial Washington Is Intoxicated By Another Big Lie

Imperial Washington is truly running amuck in its insensible confrontation with Vladimir Putin. The latest round of new sanctions is a counter-productive joke. But it is the larger narrative that is so blatantly offensive - that is, the notion that a sovereign state is being wantonly violated by an aggressive neighbor arming “terrorists” inside its borders. Once again, the American Warfare State has confected a false narrative to justify policies and missions that have nothing to do with the safety and security of the citizens of Lincoln NE and Wooster MA. Unfortunately, false narratives are what the Warfare State does.



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China Meat Scandal Spreads: McDonald's Japan Slashes Guidance

We warned last week that the scandal over Chinese meat supplier OSI was spreading (and Asians were increasingly shunning western fast-food restaurants) and now, as The FT reports, McDonald’s Japan has pulled its full-year profit guidance on the back of falling sales. It had previously forecast sales of $2.45bn for the year to December but warned it could not commit to new targets as it was too soon to estimate the scandal’s full impact. McDonald's is hardly ready to cope with this as sales are slumping and Russia is banning certain products.



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"End Torture," Ron Paul Demands "Shut Down The CIA!"

Revelations of US secret torture sites overseas and a new Senate investigation revealing widespread horrific CIA torture practices should finally lead to the abolishment of this agency. Far from keeping us safer, CIA covert actions across the globe have led to destruction of countries and societies and unprecedented resentment toward the United States. For our own safety, end the CIA!



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Jim Grant: "Gold Is The Ultimate Inoculation Against Harebrained Central Bankers"

"The central bank imposed interest rates are the source of global financial instability now and in the future," warns Grant's Interest Rate Observer's Jim Grant, adding that "The Fed... has manipulated us into a period of quite eerie stability and measured volatility." Grant believes, given the values (and aware of the risks) that Russian "stocks stand to do very well," and also likes mining stocks as he warns credit markets are overvalued (especially sovereign debt). His conclusion, own gold as "it stands to benefit from the demonstrated, as opposed the theoretically likely, crack up of the [current] monetary arrangements."



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Boots On The Ground In Ukraine: "I Needed To See This For Myself"

...just as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand 100 years ago led politicians to make a series of pitiful, short-sighted decisions that led the world into the most destructive war it had ever seen, today's "leaders" are raising the stakes towards an even more destructive kind of war. This new kind of war is fought with bits and bonds rather than steel. But it's one that affects almost everyone on the planet. Change is very clearly afoot. And it's time to start paying very close attention to the canary in the coalmine.



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Yellen Capital Humiliated After First Facebook And Now Twitter Surge Higher: TWTR's Quarter In Charts

Moments ago TWTR reported Q2 earnings which beat EPS expectations of a 1 cent loss, posting non-GAAP EPS of $0.02 (let's ignore that the GAAP EPS was actually -$0.24 and that GAAP Net Loss was $144.6 million, much worse than the $42.2 million a year ago, all driven by stock-based compensation expense, because clearly retaining employees is never a factor when calculating earnings). And yet, the stock has exploded by 30% after hours on what appears to be a super squeeze after hours, as the company also reported revenue of $312 million up from $139.3 million a year ago and some $54MM in EBITDA, up 461% Y/Y. This is just a little awkward for the Federal Reserve which some 2 weeks ago was warning about a bubble in social networking stocks, just before first Facebook and now Twitter have exploded higher on what can best be described as yet another massive short squeeze of those who decided to not fight the Fed on this one.



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Tumble Tuesday: Stocks Slide On Sanctions Blowback Fears, Dollar Jumps

Equity markets were lifted on a sea of USDJPY stops this morning to open higher and press to the week's highs. Once 102.00 was achieved and Europe closed, headlines started to stall stock exuberance. The  initial downturn was when BES cancelled its shareholder meeting, the dip was bought, then Europe unveiled its sanctions started to take stocks down and then the US unleashed a further round of sanctions targeted at banks and that dragged stocks to the lows of the day. Trannies were worst down 4 days in a row. This move merely caught stocks down to bond's less-than-exuberant day. Treasuries rallied with yields dropping 2-3bps on the day. The USD surged to 6-month highs, ending up 0.2% from Friday. Credit markets continue to sell off notably. VIX closed back above 13 (highest in 2 weeks). The Russell is -1.65% YTD and 4.5% in July (on course for worse month in over 2 years). It appears sanctions fears trumped turbo Tuesday.



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The New York Times' Revenue Since Hiring Paul Krugman

Correlation or causation?



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China's Billionaire Ex-National Security Chief Investigated For "Serious Disciplinary Violation"

With an estimated net worth of $14 Billion, Zhou Yongkang, the man formerly in charge of China's vast security apparatus, was one of the nine most senior politicians in China until 2012. But now, as The BBC reports, state media have announced he is being investigated for "serious disciplinary violation", a term usually used to refer to corruption. The news ended months of speculation about his fate as numerous people in his sphere of influence are either under investigation or have been sentenced to death. This move confirms Xi Jinping's determination to root out corruption but could also be seen, given Zhou's influence, as an effort to eliminate a center of power in China's factional political system.



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