Some of the major problems that humanity faces today transcend borders, and as such international cooperation is of vital importance. But recent events make such cooperation increasingly more challenging. Without going into the wisdom of the decision, sanctions imposed on Russia over its foreign policy in Ukraine have a wide range of implications that go much beyond the economic sphere. For one, international dialogue is breaking down fast; just this week Russian President Vladimir Putin unceremoniously left the G20 meeting early. Inevitably, this will have repercussions on major international cooperation initiatives, perhaps irreversibly in some cases. Here are a few notable examples...
I believe aggressive empires with bloated bureaucracies, unsustainable debt loads, and chronic military overreach cannot compete against the now capitalist, relatively free-market Asia. The truth is Asia is rising and the debt-ridden Western democracies are failing. The world is an interesting place, and the American Dream still lives - just not so much in the United States any longer. But countries can change for the better; tyrannies are overthrown, and the Internet reformation is a big advantage for people desiring freedom and honest information around the world.
Don’t fence yourself in.
As Hilary Clinton starts to ponder the curtains she wants to hang in the Oval Office, there is only one person who can realistically stand in her way: Rand Paul.
The global power shift from the West to the East is alive and well
Senate leaders failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance The USA Freedom Act - which would have limited the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records - and as Bloomberg reports, it's unlikely a new version can be drafted for another vote before the congressional term expires this year. The 58-42 vote to move the measure forward came mostly along party lines as Senator Saxby Chambliss - the top Republican on the intelligence committee - rambling that the bill "eliminates tools critical to the intelligence community’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks, and its adoption would greatly degrade our ability to fight domestic terrorism in particular." In other words - it's for own good, now shut up!
This may not quite be the blow-off top in the merger bubble as companies rush to frontrun the ECB and buy whatever still isn't nailed, but it is getting close. Because while earlier today Baker Hughes announced it would accept the Halliburton offer to buy it unchallenged in a $35 billion transaction leading many to wonder just how much lower the price of oil is still set to drop, moments ago the Allergan "White Knight" swooped from up on high, and as had also been leaked in recent weeks, Actavis agreed to buy the botox- maker which Ackman and Valeant had been so eagerly chasing for months in order to let the roll-up pharma pad its non-GAAP books with another 2-3 years of pro forma "synergies" add backs. This means that between Halliburton and Actavis, today we have had the first $100 billion "Merger Monday" in over a decade.
David Cameron warned last night that the global economy risked another crash and said in an article that 'red warning lights' were 'flashing on the dashboard of the global economy' and the eurozone was 'teetering on the brink' of another recession.
"I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done."
In the past 3 months there has been much discussion regarding the gruesome and barbaric beheadings by ISIS of western hostages. Yet surprisingly, a similar and just as barbaric tradition has been taking place for ages just a few hundred miles east of ISIS, in Saudi Arabia. It has been met with nothing but silence by the same indignant western societies who are quick to condemn ISIS villainy. Why the disconnect? According to the following interview by Canada's CBC reporter Anna Maria Tremonti with Newsweek's Janine Di Giovanni looking at the "shock over ISIS beheadings but silence over Saudi Arabia beheadings" the answer why few if any dare to criticize the Saudis is simple: oil.
"The Chinese, among others, seem to be responding to the lower oil price with additional demand," notes one tanker executive as Bloomberg reports the number of supertankers sailing toward China’s ports matched a record on Oct. 17 and is still close to that level now. The plunge in price has enabled China to add 35 million barrels to its inventories in the past three months as the nation fills its strategic petroleum reserves, OPEC said yesterday. Furthermore, though the oil slide is hurting nations from Venezuela to Iran - that depend on energy for revenues - ship owners serving the industry’s benchmark Middle East-to-Asia trade routes are reaping the best returns from charters in years as the slump drives down the industry’s single biggest expense. As one analyst notes, "we've seen the Chinese buying a lot from the Middle East and that’s really let rates cook." So it appears the Chinese, in the face of the worst growth and economy in years, are rational enough to buy more at lower prices (as opposed to the buy-more-because-stocks-are-at-all-time-highs Western investors).
Following al-Baghdadi's threats this morning, and General Dempsey's warnings, it appears things are escalating once again in The Middle East:
- *ISIS, AL-QAEDA AFFILIATE AGREE TO FIGHT TOGETHER IN SYRIA: AP
As AP reports, the deal could be a heavy blow to Washington's strategy against the Islamic State group, relying on arming moderate rebel factions to push back extremists in Syria. It appears The West is "gonna need a bigger coalition."
- Banks to Pay $3.3 Billion in FX-Manipulation Probe (BBG)
- Symbolic being the key word: U.S., China sign symbolic emissions plan, play down rivalry (Reuters)
- Europe (so really Russian sanctions) is the new "snow in the winter" - Carney Sees Europe Stagnation Impact as Growth Outlook Cut (BBG)
- Eurozone Industrial Output Points to Weak Third Quarter Growth (WSJ)
- Not everyone around Abe is insane: Kuroda Ally Flags Warning on Delaying Sales-Tax Increase (BBG)
- Hong Kong to scrap daily yuan conversion limit to boost stock investment (Reuters)
- Barclays Falls After FX Settlement Delay Reduces Discount (BBG)
- Some unhappy Yahoo investors asking AOL for rescue (Reuters)
while almost all oligarchs are extremely wealthy (or have access to extreme wealth), not all people with extreme wealth are oligarchs. The term oligarch is reserved for those with extreme wealth who also want to control the political process, policy levers and most other aspects of the lives of the citizenry in a top-down tyrannical and undemocratic manner. They think they know best about pretty much everything, and believe unelected technocrats who share their worldview should be empowered so that they can unilaterally make all of society’s important decisions. The unwashed masses (plebs) in their minds are unnecessary distractions who must to be told what to do. Useless eaters who need to be brainwashed into worshipping the oligarch mindset, or turned into apathetic automatons incapable or unwilling to engage in critical thought. Either outcome is equally acceptable and equally encouraged. These oligarchs and the centralized institutions they control pose the greatest threat to humanity at this time.
Did the election last week really mean that much? I took to my Twitter account on Tuesday to point out that the change in control of the Senate from Democrat to Republican actually means very little, despite efforts by politicians and the mainstream media to convince us otherwise. Yes, power shifted, I wrote. But the philosophy on Capitol Hill changed very little. The warfare/welfare state is still alive and well in Washington.
Chris Martenson is an economic researcher and futurist, specializing in energy and resource depletion, and co-founder of PeakProsperity.com. As one of the early econobloggers who forecasted the housing market collapse and stock market correction years in advance, Chris rose to prominence with the launch of his seminal video seminar, The Crash Course, that interconnected forces in the economy, energy, and the environment that are shaping the future, one that will be defined by increasing challenges as we have known it. Chris’s insights are in high demand by the media as well as academic, civic, and private organizations around the world, including institutions such as the U.N., the U.K. House of Commons, and the U.S. State Legislatures. So with that we’d like to welcome Mr. Chris