“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft. What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights. You’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.
After an incredible day in Herbalife - its best performance ever - following Bill Ackman's "death blow," none other than Whitney Tilson (who oddly has not been seen on CNBC for many months) has penned a letter to his investors explaining "why I am more confident of my Herbalife short position." As a gentle reminder, Mr. Tilson entered his Herbalife short in December 2012 in the low $20s (shortly after Ackman's initial pitch) and recently made it one of his firm's largest short positions. It appears there are now two ways by which Herbalife shares implode - Ackman buys a 'minority stake' and 'fixes it' or Whitney Tilson gets on TV and shifts to a long position...
As Turkey's graft probe continues (which the Prime Minister believes is a conspiracy - fact or not - created by The West), AP reports that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he no longer holds "direct" telephone conversations with U.S. President Barack Obama, suggesting a rift between the leaders who were once close. What is perhaps even more concerning is Turkey's recent de-dollarization discussions with Russia to move to settlement in local currencies. It appears 'allies' are falling by the way-side quicker than many thought...
Then comes the moment when the hot money evaporates.
Depending on blowing the next bubble to temporarily prop up the economy is the height of foolhardy shortsightedness.
The more one thinks about potential solutions to the gigantic mess we have found ourselves in as a species, the more one has come to believe we need to break apart into a vast multitude of city-states. The revolutionary concept of America in the first place was this idea of “self-governance,” something we do not posses an iota of in this day and age. As was noted recently in an academic paper published by Princeton and Northwestern, these United States have mutated into nothing short of an oligarchy. In fact, the study demonstrated that the will of the people has essentially zero impact on legislation whatsoever. The current overly centralized paradigm parasitically engulfing the planet will experience a series of spectacular collapses in the years ahead that will make 2008 look like practice. As the centralized beast episodically implodes upon itself, we will have a historic chance to remake our world in a new way that will better serve humanity. That new paradigm will consist of freedom through decentralization
Just like a century ago when waning British power invited a power struggle among rising nations, waning US power is creating conflict with Russia, China, etc. A century ago, they settled it on the battlefield. The great war brought brutal mass killings, bombings, heavy artillery, gassing, etc. And it changed warfare forever. This time around, the way we conduct war is different. Similarly, leaders are miscalculating, thinking that they can scare their opponents with warships and fighter jets. But modern warfare isn’t fought with boots on the ground. In 2014, cyberwar and economic war looms. And this type of war is something that will affect literally every person who is plugged in to the global financial system.
Today we’re going to explain what the “final outcome” for this process will be. The short version is what happens to a cancer patient who allows the disease to spread unchecked (death).
Ssshh... The trade only works if everyone is lulled into staying on the long side until it's too late.
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.
At the heart of the China Commodity Financing Deals (CCFD) is the ability to leverage a letter of credit on the basis that there was some collateral somewhere that backed the risk of this rehypothecatable 'money'. Until now, the biggest concern has been "where's my copper, nickel, gold, etc..?" as the Qingdao ponzi scheme is unveiled; but, as Metal Bulletin reports, the contagion from the exposure of CCFDs ponzi has now hit Western banks. At least one western bank has stopped discount financing of copper into China after Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) applied for the right not to settle a letter of credit it issued earlier this year, as a result of the Qingdao investigations. In other words the collateral chains were just snapped...
On July 16, 1661, the bank of Johan Wittmacher - a Latvian merchant of Dutch descent - became the first in history to issue paper banknotes - Kreditivsedlar. After only seven years, the bank collapsed. But the idea of paper notes lived on to infect the evolution of money ever since. Today’s commercial banks take in customer deposits, maintain a laughably small portion in reserve, and use the rest of our money to make idiotic loans for their maximum benefit. When they fail, they’re bailed out by taxpayers and do the same thing all over again. In Wittmacher’s time, this was fraud. Today it’s not only legal, it’s the industry standard. So... happy birthday paper money. It’s a hell of a system you’ve brought us.
We show that equity markets are stretched (e.g., more than 80% of the S&P rally since last year is due to re-rating), but we also find that the fixed income market has become quite rich (we have been overweight European peripherals for more than a year on valuation grounds, we show that this argument no longer holds), and the same is true of the credit market. Second because capital has been flowing rapidly into risky assets, we document that argument and here too find evidence that the market might be ahead of itself. We read the market reaction last week to the Portuguese news as a sign that the market is indeed too complacent and could correct rapidly.
More basic suggestions for those who are seeking shelter from the coming storms of global financial crisis and recession (part 1 here).
Moments ago Ukraine released what may be just that missing "YouTube" link, when it unveiled a video supposedly proving that "militants of "Bes" group shot down with a Russian anti-aircraft missile a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 passenger jet heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur." And yet, something here smells very fishy...