For Sale To The Highest Bidder – How Middle Eastern Governments Are Buying Off The US Political ProcessSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/14/2015 00:15 -0400
The quaint notion that the U.S. political system remotely resembles either a Republic or a Democracy should have been abandoned long ago. Any lingering illusions were surely extinguished last year, when an academic study empirically proved that the USA is nothing more than a corrupt oligarchy...
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 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.
- Global Debt Crisis II – Total Global Debt to GDP Ratio Over 300% - Risk of Bail-Ins in 2015 and Beyond - Currency and Gold Wars - $1 Quadrillion “Weapons of Mass Destruction” Derivatives - Cold War II and New World Order as China and Russia Flex Geopolitical Muscles - Enter The Dragon – Paradigm Shift of China Gold Demand - Forecast 2015: None. Forecast 2020: Gold $2,500/oz and Silver $150/oz
- The year of dollar danger for the world (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)
- Draghi Says ECB Prepares Action as Deflation Risk Non-Negligible (BBG)
- Obama Pivots to Lawmakers: New Plan to Advance Policy Goals by Working With Congress Draws Skeptics (WSJ)
- Affordable Care Act Creates a Trickier Tax Season (WSJ)
- Oil pares early gains, trades near $57 as supply glut prevails (Reuters)
- Iran says Saudi Arabia should move to curb oil price fall (Reuters)
- Pimco Fund Trails Peers in 2014 After Missing Rally (BBG)
- Piketty rejects Légion d’Honneur award (FT)
- UK manufacturing activity hits three-month low (BBC)
The goal is always the same: if they can't have the run of the place, they make sure that nobody else can either, by setting up a conflict scenario that nobody there can ever hope to resolve. And so if you see Anglo-imperialists going out of their way and spending lots of money to poison the political well somewhere in the world, you can be sure that they are on their way out. Simply put, they don't spend lots of money to set up intractable problems for themselves to solve - it's always done for the benefit of others.
The Agency Which DID the Torture Says It Doesn’t Work
What scares me about the Clash of Civilizations is that the three leaders of the three biggest civilizations – the US (Western), China (Sinic), and Russia (Orthodox) – will misplay their hands and take on another civilization directly or, worse, take on each other, and that will vaporize the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence in a nanosecond. The existential risk here for markets is not that China/Russia/Europe/America might “collapse”, whatever that means. No, the existential risk is that the great civilizations of the world will be “hollowed out” internally, so that the process of managing the ten thousand year old competition between civilizations devolves into an unstable game of pandering to domestic crowds rather than a stable equilibrium of balance of power.
After weeks of preparation by an umbrella group that calls itself the Santa Claus Repudiation Organization Offering Greater Education, students at campuses across America spent Christmas Eve protesting what they consider a dangerous symbol of everything that is wrong with the world today.
The oil price drop that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks has been framed almost exclusively in terms of oil market economics, with most media outlets blaming Saudi Arabia, through its OPEC Trojan horse, for driving down the price, thus causing serious damage to the world's major oil exporters – most notably Russia. While the market explanation is partially true, it is simplistic, and fails to address key geopolitical pressure points in the Middle East.
"The oil-price weapon, in the face of the terminal enfeeblement of the Obama administration, is the last recourse before the Saudis and Turks, whatever their autocues of racist rhetoric, invite Israel to smash the Iranian nuclear program from the air."
For the past 150 years, crude oil prices have varied between around $10 per barrel and around $120 per barrel. For many decades, oil prices were relatively "stable" but a funny thing happened in the early 70s and everything changed - whether coincidental or causative the linkages between the oil crisis and Nixon's Gold-Standard-busting of Bretton Woods are clear in the chart below. Goldman expects continued high oil price volatility with risks skewed to the downside as the market searches for a new equilibrium... and a period of macroeconomic adjustment to structurally lower oil prices. Is oil adjusting to a new 'gold-standard-esque' normal?
Skirmishes in the South China Sea lead to full-scale naval confrontation. Israel bombs Iran, setting off an escalation of violence across the Middle East. Nigeria crumbles as oil prices fall and radicals gain strength. Bloomberg News asked foreign policy analysts, military experts, economists and investors to identify the possible worst-case scenarios, based on current global conflicts, that concern them most heading into 2015.
- Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
- Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
- 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
- Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
- Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
- Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
- Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
- China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)