As we wrap up a most interesting, and volatile, week there are some things that we have discussed previously that are now brewing, interesting points to consider and risks to be aware of. In this regard we thought we would share a few things that caught our attention:
1) Angela Merkel Election No So Assured
2) The Debt Ceiling Debate
3) The "Taper" Indecision Is Back
4) In The "Economy Is Improving" Camp
5) Syria Already Set To Miss A Deadline
6) Everything Else...
Simply put, complacency is not an option; Stocks are overvalued, rates are rising, earnings are deteriorating and despite signs of short term economic improvements the data trends remain within negative downtrends. Investors, however, have disregarded fundamentals as irrelevant as long as the Federal Reserve remains committed to its accommodative policies. The problem is that no one really knows has this will turn out and the current assumptions are based upon past performance.
All the latest news, some of which outright conflicting, in the rapidly changing Syrian melodrama:
- Syria accepts Russian proposal to put Chemical weapons under international control - Interfax quoting Syria's foreign minister Muallem
- France to Introduce Resolution Aimed at Dismantling Syria's Chemical Arsenal
- France to push Russian proposal on Syrian chemical weapons at U.N. Security Council
- President Obama said on ABC News a U.S. attack “absolutely” would be put on hold if Syria followed through on Russian bid to get Syria to surrender chemical weapons
- Majority in House now don’t favor Syria military strike
- Russia urges Syria to give up its chemical weapons stockpile
- Obama questions whether Syrian President al-Assad would yield control of weapons
Who Is Going To Buy The US Debt If This War Causes China, Russia And The Rest Of The World To Turn On Us?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/07/2013 15:51 -0400
Yesterday we implied a difficult question when we illustrated the huge size of US Treasury bond holdings that China and Russia have between them - accounting for 25% of all foreign held debt - implicitly funding US standards of living (along with the Federal Reserve). The difficult question is "Can the U.S. really afford to greatly anger the rest of the world when they are the ones that are paying our bills?" What is going to happen if China, Russia and many other large nations stop buying our debt and start rapidly dumping U.S. debt that they already own? If the United States is not very careful, it is going to pay a tremendous economic price for taking military action in Syria.
Following John Kerry's press briefing, it appears the Obama administration seems absolutely determined to help radical Islamic jihadists that have beheaded Christians, that have massacred entire Christian villages, and that have pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda topple the Assad regime and take over Syria. Yes, the Assad regime is horrible, but if these jihadist lunatics take control it will destabilize the entire region, make the prospect of a major regional war much more probable, and plunge the entire nation of Syria into a complete and utter nightmare. This is setting up to become a colossal foreign policy disaster for the United States.
Who is Mike Grunwald? Why should we care?
On August 6th, the small town of Deer Trail, Colorado is set to vote on an ordinance that will permit the hunting of unmanned surveillance drones. The author of the ordinance, Phillip Steel, claims the gesture is “symbolic.” A handful of other American states are pursuing measures to limit the spying operations of Uncle Sam’s unmanned aerial vehicles. One has to be either lying or painfully ignorant to believe government will not abuse surveillance drones. State officials have rarely failed to use their capacity to terrify the populace. The prospect of around-the-clock surveillance is a chilling thought and one that should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately the only means to achieve some semblance of privacy requires a luddite approach to technology and a hermit’s approach to community. Otherwise, you avail yourself to the terror of visibility in what should otherwise be, in Thomas Paine’s words, the blessing of society.
Looks like the Russian guy who deleted his tweet earlier this week can undelete it:
- SNOWDEN ASKS RUSSIA FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM: RIA
- SNOWDEN SAYS HE WANTS TO STAY IN RUSSIA, INTERFAX SAYS
- PUTIN'S SPOKESMAN SAYS RUSSIAN POSITION ON SNOWDEN ASYLUM SAME
- SNOWDEN MEETING TO EXCLUDE VIDEO, PHOTO RECORDING DEVICES: RIA
- SNOWDEN TO COMPLY WITH PUTIN'S DEMAND NOT TO HARM U.S.: RIA
That terminal food sure must be something. Either that, or he is seriously entertaining Anna Chapman's marriage offer.
Before the current turmoil began, Ben Bernanke's hope was that rising asset prices would lead to a "wealth effect" that would encourage the American consumer to start spending again, and thus help the American economy finally leave the "Great Recession" behind. However, the empirical data does not support this notion and equally the economy isn't booming sufficiently to make the reverse case that the economy drives the stock market. So what is causing the markets to boom right now? Steve Keen notes that during the period from 1890 to 1950, there was no sustained divergence between stock prices and CPI, and that almost all of the growth of share prices relative to consumer prices appeared to have occurred since 1980; and then, boom! - what must certainly be the biggest bubble in stock prices in human history took off - and it went hyper-exponential in 1995. So are stocks in a bubble? Yes - and they have been in it since 1982. It has grown so big that - without a long term perspective - it isn't even visible to us. It has almost burst on two occasions - in 2000 and 2008 - but even these declines, as precipitous as they felt at the time, reached apogees that exceeded the previous perigees in1929 and 1968.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 3, 2013
Unless You Know About This Spying Method, You Might Say Something Which Could Get You In Hot Water
Why did the U.S. government spend 2.6 million dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly? Why did the U.S. government spend $175,587 "to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior"? Why did the U.S. government spend nearly a million dollars on a new soccer field for detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay? This week when we saw that the IRS was about to pay out 70 million dollars in bonuses to their employees and that the U.S. government was going to be leaving 7 billion dollars worth of military equipment behind in Afghanistan, it caused us to reflect on all of the other crazy ways that the government has been wasting our money in recent years. So we decided to go back through my previous articles and put together a list. We call it "The Waste List".
NSA Whistleblower: NSA Spying On – and Blackmailing – Top Government Officials and Military OfficersSubmitted by George Washington on 06/20/2013 16:42 -0400
Establishment politicians from both major political parties are rushing to defend the NSA and condemn whistleblower Edward Snowden. They are attempting to portray Edward Snowden as a "traitor" and the spooks over at the NSA that are snooping on all of us as "heroes". In fact, many of the exact same politicians that once railed against government spying during the Bush years are now staunchly defending it now that Obama is in the White House. But it isn't just Democrats that are acting shamefully. Large numbers of Republican politicians that love to give speeches about "freedom" and "liberty" are attempting to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The government is not supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us unless there is probable cause to do so. Apparently many of our politicians misunderstood when they read the novel 1984 by George Orwell. It wasn't supposed to be an instruction manual.
In what is likely the most disappointing, if not unexpected, news of the day, we find that according to a just released Pew Research study, a substantial majority, or 56% of Americans, "say the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism." Only 41% object to having every phone conversation intercepted, investigated, analyzed, and recorded for posterity. Sorry Edward Snowden: you just threw your life away for nothing. The sheep have been properly and thoroughly conditioned and brainwashed, which is why they continue to get precisely the government they so rightfully deserve.