From Arab Spring-related uprisings in Libya or Egypt, to a civil war in Syria and now violence in Iraq and the Ukraine, geopolitics are impacting oil. True, geopolitical risk measured by combat deaths does not always correlate well with market volatility. But wars and conflict are easy to spot on an oil price series. With combat deaths rising four fold in the last 10 years, oil markets should prepare for more turmoil. BofA 's Francisco Blanch asks "Can the US preserve geopolitical stability?" America still takes up 38% of global military spending, but appetite for foreign adventures has been low. As an example, a drop in US combat deaths in recent years has been mirrored by a rise elsewhere. Following a drop to multi-decade lows, implied vol in long dated oil options at 15% looks cheap. Oil after US hegemony may not be as steady.
"In our view, the meaning of the (law) is clear and unambiguous," the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote, The Pentagon broke the law when it swapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, for five Taliban leaders. As AP reports, the GAO charges that the administration failed to notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange, and furthermore, used $988,400 of a wartime account to make the transfer without express appropriation - breaking the Antideficiency Act. So it seems The White House's previous statement that it "acted lawfully" are once again false. As Republican Senator Susan Collins exclaimed, "The president's decision is part of a disturbing pattern where he unilaterally decides that he does not have to comply with provisions of laws with which he disagrees."
The Founding Fathers Fought the Revolutionary War to Stop the Type of Militarized Police We Now Have In the U.S.Submitted by George Washington on 08/20/2014 01:29 -0400
The ongoing clashes between residents of Ferguson, MO and heavily armed police forces - which are equipped with M16 rifles and armored vehicles - have drawn attention to the increasing militarization of police in the United States. Here are the 'alternative' cases for and against outfitting local law enforcement with military-grade weapons...
U.S. and Israeli Military Tactics Used Against American Citizens … Gazans Tweet Tips to Help AMERICANS On How to Handle Tear GasSubmitted by George Washington on 08/14/2014 15:10 -0400
Ferguson, Missouri: What’s Really Going On ... And How Did We Get Here?
The financial Globalists at the Bank for International Settlements have a strategic plan, make no mistake.....................
From Ukraine to Gaza, geopolitical risks are weighing heavily on investors’ minds. But there are plenty more out there that may not be getting headlines.
- Gunshots, tear gas in riots over shooting of black Missouri teen (Reuters)
- Russia sends big aid convoy to Ukraine, West sounds warnings (Reuters)
- Maliki Bid to Block Successor Escalates Crisis in Iraq (BBG)
- Poor German data pushes euro toward 9-month lows against dollar (Reuters)
- Derivatives Reincarnate Boosting Debt Wagers in New Era (BBG)
- Israel Says No Gaza Talks Progress as Hamas Warns on Truce (BBG)
- Traders brace for research crackdown as easy money dries up (Reuters)
- U.S. Bank Profits Near Record Levels (WSJ)
- Unproven Ebola Drugs Are Ethical to Use in Outbreak: WHO (BBG)
- Caesars’ CEO Loveman Says No Qualified Bidders for Revel (BBG)
While the conflict in Ukraine rages on, EU member states havedecided to impose (not so much more stringent)economic sanctions against Russia, which was predictably followed by Russian counter-measures. The question which isn't being asked often enough, is whether these sanctions will actually improve the situation. Here's an analysis following four concrete questions:
1. Can things get even worse in Russia?
2. Is the West able to guide Russia and Ukraine down the right path?
3. Can the West contribute to a sharpening of the crisis?
4. How can the West protect itself against this conflict?
... Who America and Her Close Allies SUPPORT (the Terrorists, That Is) ...
German Handelsblatt Releases Stunning Anti-West Op-Ed, Asks If "West Rabble-Rousers Are On The Payroll Of The KGB"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/08/2014 23:57 -0400
Up until this point Angela Merkel, and German media in general, had been staunchly on the side of the west when it comes to dealing with Russia, Putin and realpolitik in broader terms. That changed dramatically today when Gabor Steingart, the chief editor of Handelsblatt, Germany's leading economic newspaper, came out with a stunning op-ed, in German, English and Russian, titled simply that "The West on the wrong path" in which the editor comes out very vocally against the autopilot mode German media has been on for the past several months and calls for an end to a strategy of sanctions and Russian confrontation that ultimately "harms German interests" and is a dead end.
The worst possible approach is to give Putin more credibility at home...
With everyone focused on China as the source of next systemic risk, most forgot or simply chose to ignore Europe, which through Draghi's verbal magic was said to be "fixed." Or at least everyone hoped that the rigged European bond market would preserve the "recovery" illusion a little longer giving the world some more time to reform pretend it is doing something to fix it. Turns out that was a mistake, confirmed earlier not only by the plunge in German Factory Orders which cratered -4.3%, down from 7.7% and below the 1.1% revised, and UK Industrial production which missed expectations of a 0.6% boost, rising only 0.3%, but most importantly Italy's Q2 GDP shocker, which as we reported earlier, dropped for the second consecutive quarter sending the country officially into recession. As a result, European stock markets, Stoxx600, has joined the DJIA in the red for the year while Germany's 2 Year Bund just went negative on aggressive risk aversion, the first time since 2012.
A two-star US General has been killed in Afghanistan, according to ABC News, which appears to be the highest-ranked US officer KIA since The Vietnam War. The attack took place in the relative safety of the officers academy at Camp Qargha, Kabul, when a gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform apparently turned his weapon against Americans and other Afghans. In addition to the US general's death, a German brigadier general was injured along with 15 other ISAF personnel. Afghan President Karzai said the attack was "an act by the enemies who don’t want to see Afghanistan have strong institutions."