Top NSA Official: Government Tapping CONTENT, Not Just Metadata … Using Bogus “Secret Interpretation” of Patriot Act
The last war America fought openly through proxy was the Vietnam War. The sad and disturbing reality is that most wars fought by our country over the course of the past century have not been fought on principle. Instead, they have been fought for profit and for the consolidation of power and oligarchy. The war in Syria will not be about Syria. It will not be about the freedom of the people. It will not be about dethroning Assad or establishing democracy. It will not be about defusing violence in the region. Syria will not be the target; we will be the target — our society, our rights, our nation. America is in the middle of the most insidious consolidation of power in history and Syria is merely a stepping stone in the game. If we cannot maintain our vigilance and allow ourselves to be sucked into the proxy war façade, the elites will get their global conflict with little to no home opposition. The globalists will win, and everyone else will lose.
- National Security Advisor Tom Donilon resigning, to be replaced by Susan Rice - Obama announcement to follow
- Japan's Abe targets income gains in growth strategy (Reuters), Abe unveils ‘third arrow’ reforms (FT) - generates market laughter and stock crash
- Amazon set to sell $800m in ads (FT) - personal tracking cookie data is valuable
- 60 percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track (BBG) and yet have rarely been more optimistic
- Jefferson County, Creditors Reach Deal to End Bankruptcy (BBG)
- Turks clash with police despite deputy PM's apology (Reuters)
- Rural US shrinks as young flee for the cities (FT)
- Australia holds steady on rate but may ease later (MW)
- The Wonk With the Ear of Chinese President Xi Jinping (WSJ)
- Syrian army captures strategic border town of Qusair (Reuters)
As we are in the final stage of the global bubble, we realize that we often fail to ask the most obvious questions. In this case, as every central banker tells us that his policies are directed to obtain growth, the obvious question is... how do we define economic growth? What is economic growth? Yes, yes, we know that what they do is simply monetize deficits and enable the transfer of wealth between sectors and generations, but there is also an intellectual battlefield, which we should be aware of. What is the view of the central banking cartel on how to grow output? Surprisingly, not via an increase in the marginal productivity of capital, but via the so called wealth effect: As interest rates fall, asset prices increase (it doesn’t matter which assets see their prices rise) and the assets can be used as collateral to leverage a higher than previously possible consumption level. This consumption level will drive output growth, and this increase in output –they believe- will bring about full employment. The wealth effect is mistakenly attributed to Keynes, who actually argued against it. Thus, the central banking cartel has its own interpretation of economic growth and it does not fit any of the 'reality' perspectives presented below.
First a big caveat: the following comes from CNN, the world's farce leader, so take it with a quarry of salt. That said, CNN's household access is pervasive and when it comes to setting the social mood based on a news report, be it completely fabricated or not, the news organization is second to none. Which may be precisely why it is CNN that is reporting that in Syria - a place just itching for the proverbial match to be struck on a mountain of geopolitical gunpowder involving all the key actors: from the US, to Russia, Europe, China, and of course Israel, said match may have just been lit. To wit: "Syrian state-run television reported Thursday that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad killed three Westerners, including an American woman and a British national, who they claim were fighting with the rebels and were found with weapons and maps of government military facilities."
Two days ago we reported that the most recent escalation in the Syrian proxy war involved a bitter exchange between Russia and Israel, where the latter warned the former that it would proceed with destroying any arms shipments from Russia into Syria, specifically referencing the S-300 missiles that has been known to be en route to Damascus for several weeks now. The Israel defense minister warned that: "The shipments haven't set out yet and I hope they won't. If they do arrive in Syria, God forbid, we'll know what to do." Well, according to Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar not only has the shipment been sent out, but it has already arrived. Check to Israel and coming through on its warning to begin an offensive action not only against Syria, but more importantly, implicitly against Russia.
Syria Goes Hot: Russia To Deliver Weapons, Deploys Air Defense; Israel Warns Russia; Obama Demands No Fly ZoneSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/28/2013 16:32 -0400
Those who were intently following the USDJPY pair formerly known as the stock market today missed the biggest news of the day: the proxy war in Syria just went hot, following a confluence of news, first that Russia insisted "it would deliver anti-aircraft missiles to Syria despite international criticism, as fears of spillover from the conflict grew" and in logical retaliation to yesterday's decision by Europe to lift an arms embargo to the Al Qaeda-supported, Qatari mercenaries operating in Syria, also known as "rebels. This lead Israel's defense minister Moshe Yaalon to immediately signal that "its military is prepared to strike shipments of advanced Russian weapons to Syria." Meanwhile back in the US "the White House has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans for a no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced by the U.S. and other countries such as France and Great Britain, two administration officials told The Daily Beast." And just to make it very clear that Russia is not bluffing, it announced overnight that its four regiments of S-300 air defense systems have been deployed at the Ashuluk firing range in southern Russia as part of another snap combat readiness check of the Russian armed forces "The missions will be carried out in conditions of heavy electronic warfare to test the capabilities of the air defense units to the highest limit." And to think: yet another threat of a global war over some natgas pipelines from Qatar to Europe, and a threat to Gazprom's monopoly.
Spanish and Italian stocks are up 3% this week, European sovereign bond spreads are compressing like there's no tomorrow, and Europe's VIX is dropping rapidly. Why? Aside from being a 'Tuesday, we suspect two reasons. First, Hungary's decision to cut rates this morning is the 15th central bank rate cut in May so far which appears to be providing a very visible hand lift to risk assets globally (especially the most junky)' and second, Spain's deficit missed expectations this morning (surprise), worsening still from 2012 and looking set for a significant miss versus both EU expectations (and the phantasm of EU Treaty requirements). As the following chart shows, Spain is not Greece, it is considerably worse, and the worse it gets the closer the market believes we get to Draghi firing his albeit somewhat impotent OMT bazooka and reversing the ECB's balance sheet drag. Of course, direct monetization is all but present via the ECB collateral route and now the chatter is that ABS will see haircuts slashed to keep the spice flowing. What could possibly go wrong?
Bitcoin has made significant progress towards becoming the world's first truly global currency over the past few years. To gain better perspective on bitcoin’s impact, we took a look at global wallet downloads, demonstrated interest by region, exchange volumes across currencies, mining node locations, real-world interactions around bitcoin, and the major companies and investors pushing the bitcoin economy forward. Perhaps most intrguingly, interest from China has grown extremely rapidly in the last 30 days.
One can read "The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama" to get a true sense of Obama's "the best defense is a relentless drone everyone offense, ignore collateral damage and take out a few Americans in the process" policy. Or one can stare at rising stawks and enjoy their Obamaphones. Obe can't have both.
Another event-free day in which the only major economic data point was the release of UK CPI, which joined the rest of the world in telegraphing price deflation, despite bubbles in the real estate and stock markets, printing 2.0% Y/Y on expectations of a 2.3% increase, the lowest since November 2009 and giving Mark Carney carte blanche to print as soon as he arrives on deck. In an amusing twist of European deja-vuness, last night Japan's economy minister who made waves over the weekend when he said that the Yen has dropped low enough to where people's lives may be getting complicated (i.e., inflation), refuted everything he said as having been lost in translation, and the result was a prompt move higher in the USDJPY, quickly filling the entire Sunday night gap. That said, and as has been made very clear in recent years, data is irrelevant, and the only thing that matters, at least so far in 2013, is whether it is Tuesday: the day that has seen 18 out of 18 consecutive rises in the DJIA so far in 2013, and whether there is a POMO scheduled. We are happy to answer yes to both, so sit back, and wait for the no-volume levitation to wash over ever. The US docket is empty except for Dudley and Bullard speaking, but more importantly, the fate of Jamie Dimon may be determined today when the vote on the Chairman/CEO title is due, while Tim Cook will testify in D.C. on the company's tax strategy and overseas profits.
A few days when reporting that the Russian Pacific fleet had crossed the Suez canal for the first time in decades in order to form a Mediterranean task force parked in Cyprus for obvious symbolic reasons (in close proximity to Syria and the Israel-parked Kearsarge), some observed that while the submarine support was adequate, the actual warship fleet designated to support any potential escalation in Syria would be largely insufficient. Perhaps the Russian Navy heard these complaints, and several hours ago RIA reported that two extra warships from the Russian Black Sea fleet had joined the Mediterranean task force, citing Capt. First Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachyov, has said. None of these recent deployment should come as a surprise: in March Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean was needed to defend Russia’s interests in the region. Read Syria, Cyrpus (where the task force will be on anchor indefinitely), and, of course, any and all western offensive involving Iran. And slowly but surely said task force is nearing completion.
The Administration simply doesn’t want to get run over by the momentum of the oil and gas industry
Earlier this week, the CIA's Russian outpost was deeply humiliated when (in a calculated move following accusations that the US had not gottern appropriate Russian information on the two Boston bombers, and following the visit of John Kerry whose primary objective was to, unsuccessfully, get Russia to relent on Syria) Russia's FSB exposed and broadcast on live TV the arrest of its agents caught while attempting to recruit a Russian spy. Back then we suggested to "expect a prompt retaliation by the US" however it turns out Russia was not nearly done with embarrassing the US in what is becoming an obvious campaign to humiliate the US intelligence service, this time by going where very few clandestine operations go, at least during peacetime detente: by publicly exposing the head counterparty US spy. As Telegraph reports, "Russia's Federal Security Service has publicly revealed the identity of a man it calls the CIA station chief in Moscow, in what experts say is a serious breach of intelligence protocol."