It seems I arrived in New Zealand just in time to see the country implode over a bit of botulism and bad PR. Good thing I haven't converted all my dollars into kiwis just yet!
- "Ooops": Barclays reveals £12.8bn balance sheet hole (FT), Barclays Bows to Pressure With Share Sale (WSJ)
- Bank of Italy Inspecting Top Lenders' Books (WSJ)
- Obama to propose 'grand bargain' on corporate tax rate, infrastructure (Reuters)
- China injects funds into money markets, quelling fears (FT)
- Berlusconi faces verdict that could endanger Italian government (Reuters)
- Shale Threatens Saudi Economy, Warns Prince Alwaleed (WSJ)
- Qatar Finds Revolution Abroad Not as Easy as Stock Picks (BBG)
- Cities Begin Hiring Again (WSJ) - not to mention filing for bankruptcy
- Big Question Hangs Over Small-Caps (WSJ)
- China Politburo Pledges to Press On With Restructuring Economy (BBG)
- Bank Revenues Surge on Trading Over What Fed Will Do (BBG)
- Biggest Banks Face Fed Restoring Barriers in Commodities (BBG)
- SAC to Employees: Cohen Didn't Read Dell Email at Heart of SEC's Case (WSJ)
- Second (and Third) liens are back, and so is 2005: As Banks Retreat, Hedge Funds Smell Profit (WSJ)
- Singapore funds benefit from Asian wealth (FT)
- 2 years later the lies haven't changed one bit - Tepco hit over slow admission of radioactive leak (FT)
- How big tech stays offline on tax (Reuters)
- Hilton Leads Rush to Africa in Fastest Boom (BBG)
- U.S. and UK fine high-speed trader for manipulation (Reuters)
- Key witness takes stand in SEC case against Goldman's Tourre (Reuters)
- Boomer Sex With Dementia Foreshadowed in Nursing Home (BBG)
- Bentley SUV gives £800m boost to UK car industry (FT)
In an effort to soften the blow to our American readers, here is an analogy: You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? Stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood, it turns out was pretty weird and may have actually screwed you up a little bit. The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it. And to our foreign readers, get your necks ready, because this is going to be a nod-a-thon.
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
Over the course of decades we have allowed ourselves to be corrupted by the love of material possessions, the lure of a debt based faux wealth, the money for nothing entitlement promises of dishonorable politicians, the evil of currency debasement, the effectiveness of mass media propaganda, and the belief that we could sacrifice freedom and liberty for promises of safety and security made by a cabal of powerful rich men. Power has been concentrated into the hands of the few, who operate in secrecy and despise the people. They don’t want transparency or open debate. Freedom of speech is nothing but a thorn in their side. They believe they are smarter than the serfs and have no morality when it comes to committing illegal acts and disregarding the Constitution. They are not acting in the public interest. Their abuse of power and looting of the national wealth have put us on a path towards a bloody revolution. This is not a time for conformity, obedience or submission. It’s time to stand up and expose the evil doers. It’s time to rally around those who care about this country. Who are the real traitors? You know the answer.
Over the weekend, Dick Cheney emerged from his lair, and staunchly defended the NSA surveillance programs that started under his tenure as Vice President, telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that the programs could have stopped 9/11 had they been in effect. More to the point, Cheney shared his view of Edward Snowden, whom he accused of being a traitor and went so far as hinting that he could be a spy for China. "I'm suspicious because he went to China. That's not a place where you would ordinarily want to go if you are interested in freedom, liberty and so forth," Cheney said, adding: "It raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did this." The last statement finally generated an official response from China whose Foreign Ministry on Monday, which had been silent for the past week over all issues surrounding the whistleblower, denying Edward Snowden was a Chinese spy and said the United States should give the world an explanation regarding its international internet surveillance programme.
Suddenly embroiled in too many scandals to even list, and humiliated by a publicly-exposed (because everyone knew about the NSA superspy ambitions before, but with one major difference: it was a conspiracy theory.... now it is a conspiracy fact) surveillance scandal that makes Tricky Dick look like an amateur, earlier today, as expected, Obama came out and publicly declared "I am not a hacker" and mumbled something about "security", "privacy" and "inconvenience." He went on to explain how the government "welcomes the debate" of all three in the aftermath of the public disclosure that every form of electronic communication is intercepted and stored by the US government (now that said interception is no longer secret, of course) but more importantly how it is only the government, which is naturally here to help, that should be the ultimate arbiter in deciding what is best for all. Yet the PRISM-gate scandal which is sure to only get worse with time as Americans slowly realize they are living in a Orwellian police state, meant Obama would have to do more to appease a public so furious even the NYT issued a scathing editorial lamenting the obliteration of Obama's credibility. Sure enough, the president did. Reuters reports that the first course of action by the US government will be to... shoot the messenger.
Yes, Government Spooks May Be Listening
And the beat goes on! More studies, more surveys, more statistics, more data to feed the ongoing fires in present day American cultural wars. Last week, the Pew Research Center released a study stating that women are now the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households with children in the US. A figure which more than doubled that of a generation ago. Economic circumstances usually determine the need for multiple breadwinners in a household, and the household today in no way resembles the nuclear family of yesteryear. Perhaps we would not be in these dire economic straits if instead of Erickson’s dominant males governing the US during the past 32 years… we had been ruled by brainy dominant females - not the Amazon-cliché type. They couldn’t have fared any worse - as simply put: Americans - well, the bottom 80 percent - have lost control of their economic destiny…
The US Attorney General's New Normal Watergate fiasco gets more surreal by the day. Eric Holder, currently being investigated for lying under oath, has been in hot water ever since the break of the AP scandal. But it has been his "handling" of the spillover that has raised eyebrows. The latest update is sure to raise them even more. Because it turns out that during Thursday's "off the record" meeting which the majority of the press boycotted for the simple reason that the reporting press probably can't go off the record when the topic is the US government's precedence over the first amendment or it will lose what little credibility it has left, Holder's message was simple: "trust me, I am the government, and I will stop spying on you." The farce just goes downhill from there.
… Or Any Kind of Public Performance
The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Huffington Post, CNN and now, of course, Fox News: these are the media organizations, superficially from across the political spectrum, which have said they will boycott a meeting with the DOJ's embattled head, Eric Holder, on the topic of the DOJ's (not to mention the NSA's) Nixonian abuse of the first amendment and eavesdropping wherever and whenever it so chooses. The twist: the meeting is, paradoxically, supposed to be "off the record." One wonders: was this the DOJ's idea of being open and transparent - to hold a closed door meeting with the same media that it, allegedly, has been spying on, and thus put the media whose job is to report events - as in keeping the public informed - in a place where it can't do precisely that? It is as if the Marx Brothers are writing the tragicomic script for a sequence of events that inevitably ends with Holder's resignation and Obama's washing his hands of the whole affair.