Over the weekend, a major shift in the balance of power in Iraq took place when Islamic State forces seized the key Iraqi state of Ramadi. It took barely one day for the neoconservative cries for an aggressive and powerful response when overnight Kimberly Kagan's hawkish think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, came out with its assessment which was at least partially right that "Obama's strategy against the Islamic State in ruins not only in Iraq but also throughout the Muslim world."
Ten Members of the U.S. Congress – along with 32 of their staff members – received secret payments from Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company to travel to Baku in 2013, to cover the cost of travel, including souvenirs of “silk scarves, crystal tea sets and Azerbaijani rugs.”
It is unlikely that we would ever be called upon to give a speech to graduating students. But if we were, we would say the following: Congratulations, Class of 2015: You chumps!
The Wall Street Journal reports that you are the most indebted generation in history. The average graduate with student debt has a little more than $35,000 of it. The whole bill for student debt this year is expected to reach $68 billion – a tenfold increase over the last 20 years. But student debt is like the foul smell of gangrene: It testifies to a deeper, inner corruption...
Cold War 2.0 Caught On Tape: US Military Convoy Crosses Eastern Europe While NATO Sings Karaoke Peace BalladSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/15/2015 13:45 -0400
A day after Kiev chose hawkish US Senator John McCain to serve on President Poroshenko's advisory committee (spoiler alert: he had to decline), the US military rolls through Romania with a "simple message" for Vladimir Putin and Russia. Meanwhile, European officials hold hands and sing Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie's "We Are The World" at a NATO dinner. And yes, we have the video clips.
Why Are Domestic Law Enforcement More Heavily Armed than Our Soldiers?
Like everything else in America, faux patriotism is also for sale.
Seymour Hersh: Obama's Entire Account Of bin Laden's Death Is One Big Lie; This Is What Really HappenedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/11/2015 19:23 -0400
"The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? It was inevitable that the Obama administration’s lies, misstatements and betrayals would create a backlash... High-level lying nevertheless remains the modus operandi of US policy, along with secret prisons, drone attacks, Special Forces night raids, bypassing the chain of command, and cutting out those who might say no." - Seymour Hersh
- ‘Flash Crash’ Overhaul Is Snarled in Red Tape (WSJ)
- ECB Considers Tighter Noose on Greek Banks (BBG)
- Dollar Falls as U.S. Data Cast Doubt on Fed Policy Tightening (BBG)
- Market U-Turn Rams Hedge Funds (WSJ)
- Greece makes 200 million euro IMF payment due Wednesday (Reuters)
- Greek unemployment was 25.4 percent in February (Reuters)
- J.P. Morgan’s Barista-Turned-Banker Sees Good Things Brewing (WSJ)
Futures Levitate Following Worst Chinese Mfg PMI In One Year, Brent At 2015 Highs; Bund Slide ContinuesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/04/2015 06:45 -0400
The best news for stocks is twofold: volumes continue to be lethargic with both the UK (May Day bank holiday) and Japan closed until Thursday (Golden Week), while the bulk of the S&P500 has now exited the stock buyback quiet period. As such, ignore record equity outflows - all the matters is that corporate CFOs, flush with brand news bond issuance cash, will tell their favorite Wall Street trading desk to buy stocks at just the right inflection point sending the market surging just as shorts once again test the downtrend and the 50 DMA.
The story of Jade Helm — the name for the upcoming military exercises in Texas, California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada — has taken a decisive turn for the absurd as Texas Governor Greg Abbott has now called on the Texas Guard to (literally) monitor military drills conducted by US special forces after local residents suggested the exercises could be the precursor to a federal invasion of Texas. Only in America.
Following meetings with Sec. of State John Kerry, Defense Sec. Ashton Carter, Japanese officials, it appears, have been shown the endgame now that the Keynesian farce is over... As AFP reports, Japan’s military to take on more assertive role, according to Japanese officials as Japan and US bolster their alliance for the first time in 18 years. Noting the alliance "serves as the cornerstone of peace in AsiaPac," and that the Senkakus will fall under protection of this new treaty, we suspect the Chinese will have more than a few things to say about this.
The leniency shown former CIA Director (and retired General) David Petraeus by the Justice Department in sparing him prison time for the serious crimes that he has committed puts him in the same preferential, immune-from-incarceration category as those running the financial institutions of Wall Street, where, incidentally, Petraeus now makes millions. By contrast, “lesser” folks – and particularly the brave men and women who disclose government crimes – get to serve time, even decades, in jail. Behold, the virtual immunity enjoyed by the well connected.
The lines have been drawn in many police departments: it’s us vs. them. Trust in many departments has been utterly shattered within some communities because the police hold themselves to a different standard than they do the populace. But the recent cases of police brutality are simply a symptom of a much larger problem. Society in the US is breaking down, civility has been lost, and the country is rapidly becoming uncivilized. This extends within and across all of the most important institutions.
"I have no way of imagining what the United States will be like in your adulthood and yet I can sense that this country is changing in unsettling ways... Stretch anything far enough and it’ll begin to tear, fragment, break apart. That, I suspect, may be a reasonable summary of what’s been happening in our twenty-first-century world. Under stress, things are beginning to crack open... Though you don’t know it yet, you’re already living in an increasingly lopsided world whose stresses only seem to be multiplying. This has been true for the return of plutocracy...It certainly doesn’t look like the American world I’d want to turn over to you."
USA USA USA #15? Despite aerial bombardment, growing tensions with every neighbor, and the almost ubiquitous daily car-bombs, Israelis are "happier" than Americans according to Bloomberg's world happiness index. Happiness, it appears, is most abundant a long way from the equator with Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and Canada all topping the list; whereas the unhappiest nations are all in Saharan or sub-Saharan Africa (apart from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan).