Ten times a year, once a month except in August and October, a small group of well dressed men arrives in Basel, Switzerland. Carrying elegant overnight bags and stylish brief cases, they discreetly check into the Euler Hotel, across from the railroad station. They come to this quiet city from places as disparate as Tokyo, Paris, Brasilia, London, and Washington, D.C., for the regular meeting of the most exclusive, secretive, and powerful supranational club in the world.
When it comes to diplomacy, John Kerry may have rapidly become the biggest laughing joke in US State Department history, but that doesn't mean his exchanges weren't valuable to others. Others such as Israel, whose relations with the US have gone from worse to atrocious in recent months, and which as Spiegel just revealed, had eavesdropped on John Kerry on at least one occasion, during Mid-East peace negotiations. Israel would then use the information obtained from the calls during its own negotiations in the Mideast conflict. Further, Spiegel reports that at least one other intelligence service also listened in as Kerry mediated last year between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states. The German publications adds wryly that "revelations of the eavesdropping could further damage already tense relations between the US government and Israel" although with Netanyahu openly refusing Obama's demands about a Gaza ceasefire, one wonders just how much worse things between the two "allies" could get.
As long as people remain obsessed with false paradigms and faux enemies, the establishment's goal of complete centralized dominance will be predictably attainable. If we change our focus to the internationalists as the true danger instead of playing their game by their rules, then things will become far more interesting...
The Times Of Israel has removed a provocatively-titled blog post after huge blowback, denunciations, and ridicule across social media. The post - "When Genocide Is Permissible" (in full below) - concludes, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?" Removal or not, we are sure this will do nothing to endear Israel to the world.
America Used COMMUNIST Torture Techniques SPECIALLY DESIGNED to Produce F·A·L·S·E Confessions
The market has been so overbought for so long, that most investors were ignoring the clear warning signs that we were in trouble.
- As we predicted yesterday, the "big" Gaza ceasefire lasted all of a few hours (Reuters)
- To Lift Sales, G.M. Turns to Discounts (NYT)
- Espirito Santo Family’s Swift Fall From Grace Jolts Portugal (BBG)
- Argentine Debt Feud Finds Much Fault, Few Fixes (WSJ)
- Fiat Says Ciao to Italy as Merger With Chrysler Ends Era (BBG)
- Euro zone factory growth eases in July as inflation fades away (Reuters)
- CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes (Reuters)
- Ukraine Reports Losses After Pro-Russian Ambush Near Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Crash Area (WSJ)
- U.S. says India refusal on WTO deal a wrong signal (Reuters)
- Why Putin Has 2006 Flash Before His Eyes After Sanctions (BBG)
If yesterday's selloff catalysts were largely obvious, if long overdue, in the form of the record collapse of Espirito Santo coupled with the Argentina default, German companies warning vocally about Russian exposure, the ongoing geopolitical escalations, and topped off by a labor costs rising and concerns this can accelerate a hiking cycle, overnight's latest dump, which started in Europe and has carried over into US futures is less easily explained although yet another weak European PMI print across the board probably didn't help. However, one can hardly blame largely unreliable "soft data" for what is rapidly becoming the biggest selloff in months and in reality what the market may be worried about is today's payroll number, due out in 90 minutes, which could lead to big Treasury jitters if it comes above the 230K expected: in fact, today is one of those days when horrible news would surely be great news for the momentum algos. Still, with futures down 0.6% at last check, it is worth noting that Treasurys are barely changed, as the great unrotation from stocks into bonds picks up and hence the great irony of any rate initiated sell off: should rates spike on growth/inflation concern, the concurrent equity selloff will once again push rates lower, and so on ad inf. Ain't central planning grand?
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.