Petro-dollars, the word used to describe the billions of dollars earned from the sale of oil and natural gas, have helped change the shape and future of many counties in the Middle East, usually for the better, but not always. In a few short years Petro-dollars have helped shape the Gulf states into the modern and futuristic looking cities of the future that one finds in today’s architecture in Dubai, Doha and Riyadh. But now those petro-dollars are being used to shape the political future of the region and to model specific policies in a number of countries, such as Syria, for example, where petro-dollars are hard at work today.
The latest subjunctive paraphrase, just released by the US State Department: "Please don't panic... well, actually panic just a little bit, but thanks to the NSA's pervasive snooping activity, in retrospect there will have been no need to panic, as any terror threats will have been promptly eliminated (except for those that sneak through the NSA's dragnet like the Boston bombing of course). So all is well... but not really, which is why we are extending embassy closures for a little more, due to highly specific unspecified threats which we can't reveal. Just know the threats are there. But thanks to the NSA, there is nothing to worry about. Unless there is."
- Detroit ‘Gut Kick’ Poses New Test for Long Suffering City (BBG)
- Florida lawmakers urge overhaul of 'Stand Your Ground' law (Reuters)
- Investors pour huge sums into US equity funds (FT)
- Snowden Standoff Threatens Obama-Putin Moscow Summit (BBG)
- China, U.S. companies' great hope, now a drag (Reuters)
- Morgan Stanley stock traders rebuild burned bridges (Reuters)
- Huawei spied for China, claims ex-CIA head Michael Hayden (FT)
- Gorilla Flipping Homes as Rebound Revives Rapid Trades (BBG)
- BRICS joint action at G20 summit may be wishful thinking (Reuters)
The short but profitable tale of how 483,000 private individual have "top secret" access to the nation's most non-public information begins in 2001. "After 9/11, intelligence budgets were increased, new people needed to be hired, it was a lot easier to go to the private sector and get people off the shelf," and sure enough firms like Booz Allen Hamilton - still two-thirds owned by the deeply-tied-to-international-governments investment firm The Carlyle Group - took full advantage of Congress' desire to shrink federal agencies and their budgets by enabling outside consultants (already primed with their $4,000 cost 'security clearances') to fulfill the needs of an ever-more-encroaching-on-privacy administration.
The tension to "liberate" Syria is palpable. It took just 24 hours for the US to do an about face on its position on Syria, where yesterday, as Bloomberg reported, "U.S. officials said they haven’t seen conclusive evidence supporting an assertion by Israel’s top military intelligence analyst that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons against rebels. Secretary of State John Kerry and spokesmen from the White House and the Pentagon said investigations haven’t produced hard proof that Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used toxic chemicals -- a step that President Barack Obama has said would cross a “red line." Fast forward to today, and we get pretty much the opposite opposite: "The United States believes with varying degrees of confidence that Syria's regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale, the White House said on Thursday."
As is now confirmed, at least one of many JPMorgan margin calls directed at Lehman in the days before the world's biggest bankruptcy became fact, were based on glaringly erroneous information and an error so profound one wonders if this was not a premeditated "hit" on one bank by another bank. Yet a purposeful "hit" orchestrated by one bank, even JPMorgan, would require the involvement of the highest echelons of the US government. So was the US government complicit and give its blessing in this historic liquidation? The Abu Dhabi Investment Council would like to know.
Unmanned systems have become the legal and ethical problem child of the global defense industry and the governments they supply, rewriting the rules of military engagement in ways that many find disturbing. And this sense of unease about where we’re headed is hardly unfamiliar. Much like the emergence of drone technology, the rise of China and its reshaping of the geopolitical landscape has stirred up a sometimes understandable, sometimes irrational, fear of the unknown. It’s safe to say, then, that Chinese drones conjure up a particularly intense sense of alarm that the media has begun to embrace as a license to panic. China is indeed developing a range of unmanned aerial vehicles/systems (UAVs/UASs) at a time when relations with Japan are tense, and when those with the U.S. are delicate.
You can now get gold ingots at ATMs, and physcially trade physical gold through brokerage accounts, but is it too little too late? Let's look browse through the facts...
- Bernanke Wields New Tools to Reduce Unemployment Rate (BBG)
- Home Seizures Rise as Banks Adjust to Foreclosure Flow (BBG)
- EU Backs Release Of Greek Aid (WSJ)
- Democrats Confident They Have 'Cliff' Leverage (WSJ)
- Americans Back Obama Tax-Rate Increase Tied to Entitlement Cuts (BBG)
- Goldman flexes tentacles: Treasury open to Carney radicalism (FT)
- Launch Fuels Asia Security Concerns (WSJ)
- BOJ’s Unlimited Loan Program Seen Open to Use by Hedge Funds (BBG) - there are Japanese hedge funds?
- Abe Set to Face Manufacturing Gloom as Japan Contracts (BBG)
- US and UN condemn N Korea rocket launch (Guardian)
- Eurozone agrees common bank supervisor (FT)
- Berlusconi Adds to Italy Turmoil by Signaling He’d Step Aside (BBG)
"With EUR now at 1.2773 versus 1.2816 just before the announcement there is probably more downside till the kneejerk reaction is out of the way. But on the whole it seems likely that this more reflects an already existing reality than new information for the market so the downside should be relatively limited, and nothing that could not be cured by an aggressive Fed indication on balance sheet expansion."
My latest thoughts on the banks & from Max Keiser and Stacey Herbert, a question I've pondered many times - Why do the oil-rich sheiks takes such abuse from American bankers?
US Ship Mistakenly Fires On Friendly Boat Off Dubai, As Russia Condemns Saudi Treatment Of Religious ProtestersSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/16/2012 10:53 -0500
Those trigger happy US sailors are causing some diplomatic headaches again for Hillary Clinton who this time has no Syrian anti-aircraft missiles to blame, by firing on a friendly ship, killing one and injuring three, off the coast of Dubai. Per the AP: "A U.S. Consulate official in Dubai says an American vessel has fired on a boat off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, killing one person and injuring three. The official gave no further details, but it appears the boat could have been mistaken as a threat in Gulf waters not far from Iran's maritime boundaries. An Emirati rescue official confirmed the casualty toll. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the incident between the two allies. The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, said it was investigating the Monday shooting. The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi had no immediate comment." So far so bad, but where it gets even worse is that over the weekend, Russia finally decided to make its own voice heard in the middle east, and after over a year of the west condemning Syrian "eradication" of its own insurgents and keeping Russia on the defensive, Russia has decided to shine a light on none other than America's favorite regional ally: Saudi Arabia, which as we reported recently, has once again taken to quelling religious protests in Qatif and other eastern cities. Apparently Russia has had enough of this one-sided reporting of regional "insurgencies."
European equities are seen softer at the North American crossover as continued concerns regarding global demand remain stubborn ahead of tonight’s Chinese GDP release. Adding to the risk-aversion is continued caution surrounding the periphery, evident in the Spanish and Italian bourses underperforming today. A key catalyst for trade today has been the ECB’s daily liquidity update, wherein deposits, unsurprisingly, fell dramatically to EUR 324.9bln following the central bank’s cut to zero-deposit rates. The move by the ECB to boost credit flows and lending has slipped at the first hurdle, as the fall in deposits is matched almost exactly by an uptick in the ECB’s current account. As such, it is evident that the banks are still sitting on their cash reserves, reluctant to lend, as the real economy is yet to see a boost from the zero-deposit rate. As expected, the European banks’ share prices are showing the disappointment, with financials one of the worst performing sectors, and CDS’ on bank bonds seen markedly higher. A brief stint of risk appetite was observed following the release of positive money supply figures from China, particularly the new CNY loans number, however the effect was shortlived, as participants continue to eye the upcoming growth release as the next sign of health, or lack thereof, from the world’s second largest economy.
With Europe, the BBA, and virtually everyone shocked, shocked, that the global bank cabal schemed and colluded for years to manipulate interest rates, so far only America appears relatively blase, and totally ignorant, about the issue. Perhaps it is because the first bank exposed in the manipulation scheme so far is European, perhaps because it is just tired of all the endless crime coming out of the criminal complex known as Wall Street. It is unclear. Then again, America will soon have its own manipulation scandals to deal with: and if it is not the US BBA member banks, all of whom were just as guilty as Barclays, and the only question is which bank will be the sacrificial scapegoat whose CEO will have to demonstratively depart (to warmer, non-extradition climes), it will be the following story from Bloomberg which will likely pick up much more steam over the next weeks and months, detailing how the bank which just barely avoided a triple notch downgrade (wink wink) has had previous dealings with the very same rating agencies seeking to, picture this, artificially inflate ratings! So to summarize: Fed manipulates capital markets, HFT manipulates bid ask spreads, "self-policing" CDS pricing market groups fudge the prices on trillions in Credit Default Swaps, bank cabals collude and manipulate short-term interest rates, and now banks are confirmed to have manipulated the ratings on tens of billions of bonds using monetary incentives and threats. Is there anything in this "market" that was fair over the past several decades, and was actual price discovery ever actually possible? Because by now it should be very clear going forward all the things that actually make a free and fair market are forever gone, and that without endless fraud and manipulation by all the market participants who realize that anyone defecting the ponzi group means immediate and terminal losses for all, and all those calls for an S&P 400 would actually prove to be overly optimistic.