A LOT Has Happened In the Last Week ...
While the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will come and go, something far more insidious is taking place in Gaza : as the Daily Beast reports, "The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the 3-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory."
For reasons that have no rational explanations at this time, the US and Europe have embarked on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict as it's been since the Cold War, a time hardly memorable to many in the current crop of our elected officials. A dangerous dynamic is brewing between the West and Russia/Putin. We are seeing a rush to war very similar to the one that led up to Saddam's ouster, but this time, we have much less justification (hard to believe) and the opponent is tremendously more capable. There is little sense in the course the West is currently pursuing, little to gain, and much to lose. The main conclusion here is that not only is the US poking the bear, but it is doing so with increasing frequency and upping the ante dangerously with each step.
We already know that all is not well in US-Israeli relations (despite the ongoing funding) and John Kerry is not helping, but this morning's comments from the White House and Pentagon are concerning. As The BBC reports, the US Defense Dept says civilian casualties in Gaza are "too high" and Israel needs to do more to protect civilian life. Then White House spokesman John Earnest added, "the shelling of a UN facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible." Time to rethink the $576 mllion tripling of Israeli aid?
There is no grammatical justification for why two days ago, AP did it again, when a "harshly" worded tweet by the AP became this, just four hours later.
Argentina defaults; Russia, Ukraine, Libya, Israel, Gaza, Iraq all in a state of (hot or otherwise) war, the worst Ebola epidemic in the history of Africa, and now Obama is getting sued.
Following yesterday's scandalous release of the Obama-Natanyahu phone call transcript by Israel's Channel 1, which officials on both sides have claimed was a fake (due to its clearly negative implications for US foreign policy which appears painfully weak) yet which the media outlet has defended as authentic, citing a "senior American official" as a source, one was wondering how long it would take for the White House to "teach" Israel a lesson, and put it in its place. The answer: less than 24 hours. Moments ago, the White House officially "condemned" the shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza that local authorities estimated killed at least 15 Palestinians who were sheltering there.
- Fed Decision-Day Guide: QE Tapering to Inflation Debate (BBG)
- Obama says strains over Ukraine not leading to new Cold War with Russia (Reuters)
- Siemens to BP Prepare for Downward Russia Business Spiral (BBG)
- Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror (NYT)
- Argentina Banks Preparing Bid to Help Argentina Avoid Default (WSJ)
- Obama Weighs Fewer Deportations of Illegal Immigrants Living in U.S. (WSJ)
- India Warships Off Japan Show Rising Lure as China Counterweight (BBG)
- Hong Kong Popping Housing Bubbles London Can’t Handle (BBG)
- Carnage at U.N. school as Israel pounds Gaza refugee camp (Reuters)
This week's US data onslaught begins today, with the ADP private payroll report first on deck (Exp. 230K, down from 281K), followed by the number of the day, Q2 GDP, which after Q1's abysmal -2.9%, is expected to increase 3%. Anything less and in the first half the US economy will have contracted, something the purists could claim is equivalent to a recession. The whisper numbers are to the downside since consumption and trade never caught up and the only variable is inventory as well as Obamacare, whose impact was $40 billion "contribution" in Q1 was entirely eliminated and instead led to a deduction, something we expect will be reversed into Q2. Following the backward looking GDP (which will be ignored by the sellside penguins if it is bad and praised if good) at 2:00 pm Yellen Capital LLC comes out with a correction on her call to short social networking stocks, as well as admit once again that the "data-driven" Fed really has no idea what it is doing and how it will tighten, but that tightening is imminent and another $10 billion taper to QE will take place ahead of a full phase out in October. Joking aside, the Fed is expected not to do much if anything, which may be just the right time for Yellen to inject an aggressively hawkish note considering her inflation "noise" refuses to go away.
"Shocked" White House Slams "Fabrication" After Israel TV Leaks Damning Transcript Of Obama-Netanyahu Phone CallSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/29/2014 23:53 -0400
While the US continues to escalate the conflict with Russia in a tit-for-tat recreation of the Cold War, things for US foreign policy just keep going from bad to worse, with the latest insult coming from none other than close US ally, Israel.
Despots, dictators, and power hungry presidents arise in an atmosphere of fear, scarce resources, hopelessness, and misery. As the power of the central government grows; the freedoms, liberties and rights of the people are diminished and ultimately relinquished.
Aggressive buying of gold and particularly silver by Russia will likely lead to defaults on the COMEX gold and silver futures exchanges and potentially an international monetary crisis. As sanctions, economic war and currency wars intensify we expect Russian and Russian ally buying of gold and selling of dollars to intensify ...
Operation Protective Edge entered its 22nd day on Tuesday, as Israeli ground forces continued their incursion into Gaza following the government rejection of a cease-fire draft proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend. Earlier in the evening, Haaretz reports the Israeli Air Force struck Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh's home in Gaza and then Reuters notes that Hamas said that its broadcast outlets, Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Aqsa Radio were also targeted. The television station continued to broadcast, but the radio station went silent.
In just 800 words Pat Buchanan exposes the sheer juvenile delinquency embodied in Washington’s current Ukrainian fiasco.
What motivates Putin seems simple and understandable. He wants the respect due a world power. He sees himself as protector of the Russians left behind in his “near abroad.” He relishes playing Big Power politics. History is full of such men. But what motivates those on our side who seek every opportunity to restart the Cold War? Is it not a desperate desire to appear once again Churchillian, once again heroic, once again relevant, as they saw themselves in the Cold War that ended so long ago? Who is the real problem here?
Is there anyone in the world who is not mocking John Kerry? As AP reports, Obama administration officials were fuming Monday over a torrent of Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations - "U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything." The White House is not happy - in unusually harsh language, officials said the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also said the personal attacks on Kerry crossed a line. Another red line crossed?