In Germany, citizens are increasingly worried, with 57% of non-Muslims seeing Islam as a threat; and these fears prompted, as Bloomberg reports, about 25,000 people to turn out for an anti-Islam rally last night in the eastern city of Dresden. Protesters demanded tighter immigration laws, measures to fight 'religious preachers of hatred' and a zero-tolerance policy for immigrants who commit crimes. Angela Merkel has urged tolerance after the rally, warning that some of the organizers have "hatred in their hearts," but it appears the slippery clope has begun, summed up by one 73-year-old German, "I want lots of money for a program to pay Muslims to go home."
- Oil Drops Below $45; U.S. Stockpiles May Speed Collapse (BBG)
- Pound Drops as Traders Write Off Higher Rates on Inflation Slump (BBG)
- Oil prices down again as UAE defends holding production (Reuters)
- The Politics Behind the ECB's Threat to Cut Greece Funding (BBG)
- France dispatched thousands of police and military personnel to protect synagogues and Jewish schools, as the government warned of continued terror threats after three days of deadly violence (WSJ)
- Chinese Car Dealers Find Days of ‘Printing Money’ Ending (BBG)
- Gold Rises to Highest Since October as U.S. Rate Outlook Weighed (BBG)
- Divers retrieve crashed AirAsia jet's cockpit voice recorder (Reuters)
Foreign policy actions have consequences. The aggressive foreign policies of the United States and its allies in the Middle East have radicalized thousands and have made us less safe. Blowback is real whether some want to recognize it or not. There are no guarantees of security, but only a policy of non-intervention can reduce the risk of another attack.
We are observing the emergence of a new phase in The Golden Age of the Central Banker – the cult phase – to use the sociological lingo. Joseph Heller’s brilliant book provides the starting point, not only by calling attention to the prevalence and power of Catch-22’s in the investment world today, but also in the creation of a self-regulated, faith-based system of social behavior. A Catch-22 world is not a happy world, but it is a very stable world, at least on its own terms. Change is very unlikely to come from within, and internal market risk indicators are all quite benign. But external market risk indicators are all screaming red, as the global environment has rarely been this worrisome for political shocks, trade/forex shocks, and supply shocks with the scope and power to challenge the Central Banking gods.
Throughout history, there have been cases where this willingness to live together vanished because a big part of the population expresses a desire to live under different rules. What happened last week in Paris begs the question whether Western Europe faces this problem; i.e., does France and its neighbors have a part of their population that rejects the rules on which the nation is based, and wishes to build a nation under a different set of rules?
There is compelling evidence that 2015 will see a global slump in economic activity. This being the case, financial and systemic risks will increase as evidence of the slump accumulates. It can be expected to undermine global equities, property and finally bond markets, which are currently all priced for economic stability. Even though these markets are increasingly controlled by central bank intervention, it is dangerous to assume this will continue to be the case as financial and systemic risks accumulate. Precious metals are ultimately free from price management by the state. Furthermore, they are the only asset class notably under-priced today, given the enormous increase in the quantity of fiat money since the Lehman crisis. In short, 2015 is shaping up to be very bad for fiat currencies and very good for gold and silver.
There was one world leader who was out of step with the rest of political elite during yesterday's theatrical procession of world leaders for French unity and for press freedom (even as the bulk of them engage in prosecution of freedom of speech across their own nations): Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, as Reuters reports, he managed to "ruffle a few feathers while taking part in the "Charlie Hebdo" rally in Paris on Sunday" because this was an event his office initially said he would not be attending following a specific request form French president Hollande not to come to Paris, but ultimately ended up participating in much to the Chagrin of the French president.
Slain Paris Terrorist Claims He Was Working For ISIS In Posthumous Video, Explains Reasons For AttackSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/12/2015 08:43 -0500
Two days after the dramatic and tragic events from Friday, Amedy Coulibaly, who in coordination with the two brothers who attacked a satirical newspaper and said they were affiliated with al-Qaeda, killed four hostages at a Paris supermarket Friday before he was slain by police appeared in a new posthumous video released on Sunday, on which he pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group and explained the planning and the reasoning behind the attacks that sowed terror across France.
- Earnings Pessimism Jumps as Oil Threatens S&P 500 Growth (BBG)
- It’s Amateur Hour in the Booming Chinese Stock Market (BBG)
- France mobilizes 10,000 troops at home after Paris shootings (Reuters)
- European Stocks Gain With S&P 500 Futures While Oil Drops (BBG)
- Nasdaq Looks to Operate Dark Pools for Banks (WSJ)
- This Guy Called Bonds in ’14. You Listening This Time? (BBG)
- Paris attacks boost support for Dutch anti-Islam populist Wilders (Reuters)
- OPEC price war in Asia intensifies as oil falls below $50 (Reuters)
If you, like the BIS, are sick and tired of central bankers, and in this case the ECB's endless jawboning and now daily QE threats, determining the level of stocks, well then today is a good day as any to take your blood pressure medication. Because first it was ECB Governing Council member Ignazio Visco who told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that the risk of deflation in the euro zone should not be underestimated and urged the bank to buy government debt, and then, yet another regurgitated story, came from CNBC whose "sources" reported that the ECB QE would be based on contributions from national central banks and paid in capital. And while otherwise the cross-correlation trades would have at least pushed the crude complex modestly higher, today it was Goldman's energy analyst Jeffrey Currie finally throwing up all over oil, with a report in which he said that "because shale can rebound quickly once capital investments return, we now believe WTI needs to trade near $40/bbl for most of 1H15 to keep capital sidelined."
There is overwhelming evidence that the rampant money printing of the past decade or two has done nothing to generate sustainable growth in mainstream living standards and real wealth. Yet the monkeys keep rattling the cage, promising and demanding more ZIRP(and now N-ZIRP) and more fraudulent purchase of government debt with fiat credit congered by their printing presses. Consider some striking proof of failure...
NYPD Put On High Alert After ISIS "Unleash Killings" Video, Feinstein Warns Of Terrorist Sleeper CellsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/11/2015 15:15 -0500
NYPD cops were put on high alert Saturday night after ISIS released a propaganda video urging the killing of "intelligence officers, police officers, soldiers, and civilians" in the US, according to The NY Post. This was then further fear-mongered by Senator Diane Feinstein who said Sunday she believes there are terrorist sleeper cells in the U.S. that could carry out attacks similar to the ones in France - thoiugh not mentioning any specific threats. Of course, this heightened terror alert comes at the worst possible time, as AP confirms what we discussed previously, that NYC has seen a steep decline in the number of arrests amid a rumored work slowdown by NYPD cops on the heels of disillusionment with de Blasio.
Arson Attack On German Newspaper After Printing Charlie Hebdo Cartoons; Thousands Take To Streets In France - Live WebcastSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/11/2015 07:10 -0500
A day when over 700,000 people are said to have taken part in marches across France in Paris, Orleans, Nice, Pau, Toulouse and Nantes, following three days of deadly attacks in the Paris area to commemorate the victims' memories, there was another attack which may be tied to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, this time by unknown assailants who launched an incendiary device on the building of German newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost shortly after 2am local time when nobody was in the building, and which, as Bloomberg reports, had in recent days reproduced the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo.
France’s president, François Hollande, described the attack as an “act of exceptional barbarity.” But killing people is hardly exceptional – neither for the empire nor its enemies. It is routine. And great empires follow their well-trodden paths, too, no matter what mockery they encounter. That path leads in a familiar direction – freedom of speech is chilled. But we know of no instances in which foreign enemies put it on ice. Usually, it is the empire’s own bureaucrats, snoops and protectors who do the chilling. And that cooling is already under way.
Be afraid, be very afraid. While French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday "The nation is relieved tonight," after the two standoffs concluded, as CNN reports, the French government's work is not over. French law enforcement officers have been told to erase their social media presence and to carry their weapons at all times because terror sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the country, according to a French police source. Investigations continue into which terrorist group was ultimately responsible and, not be outdone in the fearmongery, The US State Department has issued a Worldwide Caution warning travelers, of the "continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world." Thank goodness we have the governments to protect us.