Meet The Press
The froth is back. As we noted yesterday, corporate leverage has never been higher - higher now than when the Fed warned of froth, and as the BIS (following their "party's over" rant 3 months ago) former chief economist now warns, "this looks like to me like 2007 all over again, but even worse." The share of "leveraged loans" or extreme forms of credit risk, used by the poorest corporate borrowers, has soared to an all-time high of 45% - 10 percentage points higher than at the peak of the crisis in 2007. As The Telegraph reports, ex-BIS Chief Economist William White exclaims, "All the previous imbalances are still there. Total public and private debt levels are 30pc higher as a share of GDP in the advanced economies than they were then, and we have added a whole new problem with bubbles in emerging markets that are ending in a boom-bust cycle." Crucially, the BIS warns, nobody knows how far global borrowing costs will rise as the Fed tightens or “how disorderly the process might be... the challenge is to be prepared." This means, in their view, "avoiding the tempatation to believe the market will remain liquid under stress - the illusion of liquidity."
Why on earth does the UN Security Council still exist when the rules and regulations that the people who have the right to veto set up in the first place are dumped just as quick as you can say Bachar al-Assad?
Despite consumer confidence at a six-year high, the latest AP survey of the real America shows a stunning four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, are near poverty, or rely on welfare for at least parts of their lives amid signs of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among whites about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987.
Journalists should be protected, but not because of who they are or the title next to their name, but because they are engaged in acts of journalism. At the end of the day journalism is much like porn, hard to define but “you know it when you see it.” Whether you want to call Glenn Greenwald a journalist or not, what he did in the Edward Snowden affair was clearly an “act of journalism” and therefore must be protected and defended at all costs. Mike Krieger, of Liberty Blitzkrieg, is extraordinarily bothered by the manner in which the oligarch gatekeepers in the mainstream media and elsewhere are attempting to discredit Glenn Greenwald by saying he is “not a journalist.” It appears their primary strategy in fighting back against truth-tellers, whistleblowers and journalists in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations is by attempting to control the definition of the term “journalist.” This way they can then proclaim who is a “real journalist” and who isn’t.
Just to confirm that in a world in which China and Russia (and Caracas... and Cuba) are increasingly seen as the paragons of liberty, virtue, and civil rights and the US is slowly but surely sinking into the role of the turnkey totalitarian tyranny antagonist, we just go this from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers: "Edward Snowden's reported choice to fly to Cuba and Venezuela undermines his whistleblower claims... Everyone of those nations is hostile to the United States, the Michigan Republican said on NBC's "Meet the Press" news talk show. "When you think about what he says he wants and what his actions are, it defies logic," said Rogers. Actually, Mike, when "you think about what he says", his actions make all the sense in the world, and certainly validate his "whistleblower claims."
Why There Is So Much Pro-War Reporting
Cheney Caught In Another Major Lie
When the Republican party agreed last week to a push back on the debt ceiling discussion by three months to May 19, virtually without a fight in a move that may presage what is set to become a quarterly can kicking exercise on the US credit card max, some were curious what the quo to this particular quid may be. Earlier today on Meet the press Paul Ryan explained: the pound of spending flesh demanded by the GOP in exchange for caving on yet another key GOP hurdle is, as our readers have known for over two weeks, the Sequester, which is set to hit on March 1 and possibly the stop-gap government funding on March 27, after which various government agencies will start shutting down. Both programs are set to kick in automatically as incremental spending cuts, chopping away even more basis points from the 2013 US GDP, unless the GOP votes affirmatively to extend them in what would then be seen as a move that destroys any last trace of leverage and credibility that GOP may have had.
If earlier media speculation that the cliff debate was seeing some progress would have sent stocks higher (assuming it was not a Sunday), the speaker's just released response to Obama's Meet The Press appearance would have deflated all hope of any progress. Remember: all is fair in political circus and Beltway theater.
More GOP-bashing, more scapegoating, more "we need to raise taxes to cover a few days of spending" (and pray America's rich have never heard of Belgium), more hope and optimism, in other words more of the same, yet nothing on the last minute executive order hiking Federal spending, nothing on the myth of what really constitutes the spending "cuts", or why it is all really all about preserving the lie of a fair and efficient market: as if more than 10% of the US population actually cares where the DJIA closed on Friday. The full Obama Meet the Press interview below.
- U.S. Family of Mao’s General Assimilates, Votes for Obama (Bloomberg)
- Iron ore prices hit eight-month high (FT)... four months after plunging and crushing iron ore miners
- Obama seeks 60 Senate votes for cliff deal (MarketWatch)
- Need. Moar. InfinitQEeee: Japan PM adviser urges unlimited BOJ easing, higher price goal (Reuters)
- Yen Touches 16-Month Low Versus Euro Before Japan CPI (BBG)
- China consumers driving economic rebound (Reuters) - ot just year end window dressing to accompany the new Politburo
- Rajaratnam agrees to pay $1.5 million disgorgement in SEC case (Reuters)
- France should review 2013 deficit target with EU partners (Reuters)
- Monti-led poll alliance takes shape (FT)
- Bersani wants growth-oriented Europe (FT)
As the Fiscal Cliff discussions get progressively more acrimonious, more people are being reminded that the new and improved $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, which the US will breach in a few days, is just as important, and just as much at an impasse. Which is why the Treasury just opined on the issue, by openly supporting the "McConnell Provision" and in doing so may have made any future Cliff/Ceiling discussions more difficult as the US has effectively invoked the nuclear option, aka a Presidential Veto to effectively elimiante the debt ceiling, something which will antagonize the GOP to such an extent any potential Fiscal Cliff deal may become unfeasible. The market is hardly happy that the already record polarity in Congress is about to get even worse as a result of this hardline stance, and just took another big leg lower.
Here is a summary of where the world stands:
- Unable to reach a compromise over the weekend, South Africa is now in an all out labor strike, with the police again firing rubber bullets at miners with lethal escalation guaranteed
- Back from vacation, the once again penniless citizens of Spain, Greece, and Portugal have resumed protesting austerity
- US embassies attacked, in many cases with numerous casualties, in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, India, Balgadesh, Indonesia, and others.
- Japan "appropriating" China-contested islands provoking a firestorm of retaliation including demands for "war with Japan"
- The Japanese ambassador to China dying mysteriously
- Netanyahu telling Meet the Press Iran will have a nuke in six-seven months and must be stopped beforehand
- Warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, launching a military exercise in the Straits of Hormuz
- A third US aircraft - the CVN-74 Stennis - carrier is en route to Iran with an ETA of about 10 days
- And finally, a potential catalyst to light this whole mess on fire, Iran's Revolutionary Guard announcing that its troops are now on the ground in Syria.
"Yellow journalism" – which seems almost the only kind we have these days dominates our newsflow, but the truth is out there. As with everything else though, it's subject to Pareto's Law. So, 80% of what's out there is crap, and 80% of what's left is merely okay. But that remaining 4% of quality, uncensored, free information flow is extremely valuable. The terminal corruption of the major news corporations and the lack of interest in seeking the truth among the general population augurs very poorly for the prospects of the US and the current world order. This creates speculative opportunities, but prospects for mainstream investments are not good. Western civilization is truly in decline and far down the slippery slope.
The Elephant In The Room: European Capital (Out)flows And Another €215 Billion In Spanish Deposit FlightSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/21/2012 14:19 -0500
Frequent readers know that Citi's Matt King is our favorite analyst from the bailed out firm. Which is why we read his latest just released piece with great interest. And unfortunately for our European readers, if King is right, things in Europe are going to get far worse, before they get better, if at all. Because while one may speculate about political jawboning, the intricacies of summit backstabbing, and other generic nonsense, the one most important topic as discussed lately, is that terminal event that any financial system suffers just before it implodes or is bailed out: full scale bank runs. It is here where King's observations, himself a member of a TBTF bank which would likely be dragged down in any cash outflow avalanche, are most disturbing: "In Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, foreign deposits have fallen by an average of 52%, and foreign government bond holdings by an average of 33%, from their peaks. The same move in Spain and Italy, taking into account the fall that has taken place already, would imply a further €215bn and €214bn in capital flight respectively, skewed towards deposits in the case of Spain and towards government bonds in the case of Italy....Economic deterioration, ratings downgrades and especially a Greek exit would almost certainly significantly accelerate the timescale and increase the amounts of these outflows." That's right: according to Citi there is a distinct likelihood that, all else equal, the domestic bank sector in Spain will see another €215 billion in deposit outflows.