Duct Tape

"Evidence Points To Another Snowden At The NSA"

"Rather than the NSA hacking tools being snatched as a result of a sophisticated cyber operation by Russia or some other nation, it seems more likely that an employee stole them. If Snowden could not have stolen the hacking tools, there are indications that after he departed in May 2013, someone else did, possibly someone assigned to the agency’s highly sensitive Tailored Access Operations."

The Lego Movie Economy

After the February jobs report, President Obama said “America’s pretty darn great right now.”  He then went on to disparage the “doomsday rhetoric” of the Republicans, which he said was pure “fantasy. I think that there is a good chance that this will enter the Hall of Fame of miss-timed statements, right up there with this jewel from Ben Bernanke in March 2007:  “At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the sub-prime market seems likely to be contained.”

Short Squeeze, Liquidity, Margin Debt & Deflation

Some things you CAN see coming, in life and certainly in finance. Quite a few things, actually. Once you understand we’re on a long term downward path, also both in life and in finance, and you’re not exclusively looking at short term gains, it all sort of falls into place. Of course, the entire global economy has been hanging together with strands of duct tape for decades now, but hey, it looks good as long as you don’t take a peek behind the facade, right?

Chronicling History's Greatest Financial Bubble

So far, it’s a different type of crisis – market tumult in the face of global QE, in the face of ultra-low interest rates and the perception of a concerted global central bank liquidity backstop. It’s the kind of crisis that’s so far been able to achieve a decent head of steam without causing much angst. And it’s difficult to interpret this bullishly. If Brazil goes into a tailspin, it will likely pull down Latin American neighbors, along with vulnerable Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and others. And then a full-fledged “risk off” de-risking/de-leveraging would have far-reaching ramifications, perhaps even dislocation and a collapse of the currency peg in China. China does have a number of major trading partners in trouble. Hard for me to believe the sophisticated players aren’t planning on slashing risk.

In Denmark You Are Now Paid To Take Out A Mortgage

With NIRP raging in the Eurozone and over €1.5 trillion in European government bonds trading with negative yields, many were wondering when any of this perverted bond generosity will spill over to other debtors, not just Europe's insolvent governments (who can only print negative interest debt because of the ECB's backstop that it will buy any piece of garbage for sale in the doomed monetary union). In fact just earlier today we, rhetorically, asked a logical - in as much as nothing is logical in the new normal - question: "Who will offer the first negative rate mortgage." Little did we know that just minutes after our tweet, we would learn that at least one place is already paying homeowners to take out a mortgage. That's right - the negative rate mortgage is now a reality.

"There Has Never Been A Crazier Moment In History"

Who can feel confident about the tending of things just now? The diminishing returns of the Information Age are about to bite our collective asses. The sum of all that digital magic is a nation completely incapable of telling itself the truth or acting honorably. Unemployment is down without employment being up. Candy Crush is making the world safe for democracy. We have the finest health care system in the world. ISIS is trying to compete with our homegrown videogame industry for supremacy in porno-violence (actually, I thought we already won that) but now we will obliterate all the bad guys in the world by remote control from the drone bunkers of Las Vegas, and that will show them. Thank goodness the long holiday season is almost upon us to juice the so-called economy ever-higher. There has never been a crazier moment in history.

Presenting ISIS-Beating "Mad Max" Battle Tanks And Buses

When it comes to fighting the barbaric beheaders formerly known as ISIS, Kurdish fighters appear to have gone to the 1979 movie "Mad Max" for inspiration. As The Daily Mail notes, while significantly outgunned by Islamic State, the Kurds have created a fleet of well-armored, elaborately-designed, ominous-looking battle-buses by converting tractors and trucks into tanks...

Things That Make You Go Hmmm... Like Is Japan Totally F##ked?

We have detailed the straitjacket into which the Japanese have been strapped for the past two decades numerous times in the last few years (in great detail here)  but as Grant Williams leaned back in his most comfortable chair after reading an article about proposed changes to the GPIF (Government Pension Investment Fund), Japan’s public pension fund; the thought popped into his mind - "Japan really is totally f##ked." What led him to that well-thought-out and eruditely expressed conclusion? Read on...

Yes, The Government is Spying on You Through Your Webcam – Another “Conspiracy Theory” Proven True

Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally. GCHQ does not have the technical means to make sure no images of UK or US citizens are collected and stored by the system, and there are no restrictions under UK law to prevent Americans’ images being accessed by British analysts without an individual warrant.

Fukushima's Legacy: Understanding The Difference Between Nuclear Radiation & Contamination

Are fish from the Pacific safe to eat?  What about the elevated background radiation readings detected in Japan, and recently in California? Are these harmful levels? Should we be worried? And if so, what should be done about these potential health threats? What steps should we take to protect ourselves? Fukushima-related fears have been both overblown as well as heavily downplayed by parties on each side of the discussion. Much of this stems from ignorance of the underlying science. But some of it, sadly, seems to be purposefully misleading. Again, on both sides. To assess the true risks accurately, you need to know about the difference between radiation and contamination.  The distinction is vital and, unfortunately, one of the most glossed-over and misused facets of the reporting on nuclear energy.

 

Healthcare In America: Countless Layers Of Grift And Counter-Grift

The ObamaCare website rollout fiasco, joined by the bait-and-switch “You can keep your current insurance (not)” tempest, obscure the fundamental quandary about so-called health-care in America: that it is a gigantic racket structured to allow countless layers of grift and counter-grift. The end product of all that artifice is that medical care costs twice as much in America as any other civilized country, and that it has to be operated by a cruel and despotic matrix of poorly coordinated bureaucracies that commonly leave people more disabled financially than the diseases that brought them into the system. ObamaCare was designed to work like a giant roll of duct tape that would allow the current cast of characters in charge (Democratic Progressives) to pretend that the system could keep going a few years longer.

Radioactive Water Leaking From Fukushima: Why Millions Of Lives Are At Stake

In lieu of the Japanese government doing the right thing and finally coming clean about the epic environmental catastrophe that is Fukushima, which it hopes to simply dig under the rug even as the inconvenient reality gets worse and thousands of tons of radioactive water make their way into the ocean, one is forced to rely on third-party sources for information on this tragedy. We present a useful primer from Scientific American on Fukushima "water retention" problem and "what you need to know about the radioactive water leaking from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean."