Who could have seen this coming? In yet another example of untruthiness, it appears, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, President Obama would back U.S. advisers accompanying Iraqi troops in battle to combat Islamic State militants if necessary. For now, Dempsey noted, Iraqi security forces are "doing fine," but as Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe noted, "it is foolhardy for the Obama administration to tie its hands and so firmly rule out the possibility of special operators on the ground." Following Hagel's remarks that the fight will "not be an easy or a brief effort," Dempsey said if it doesn’t succeed, he would not rule out advising Obama to use U.S. ground forces.
"The apparently long-term rupture of Russia's relations with the West offers an opportunity to the Chinese leadership to enhance its already close relationship with the Kremlin and thus turn the global geopolitical balance in its favor - not unlike former US president Richard Nixon and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger who reached out to Chairman Mao Zedong in 1972. The Russians, angry with Washington, are now more amenable to giving China wider access to their energy riches and their advanced military technology. The Western sanctions pushing Russia out of the international financial system are also making Moscow more ready and willing to back the Chinese yuan against the US dollar." - China Daily
The Ukraine "ceasefire" may be raging, but don't tell that to the "rebel", "separatists", "pro-Russian terrorists" or whatever it is that the ethnic Russians in east Ukraine are called nowadays, because a few short hours ago even Kiev finally admitted that the insurgency, with or without Russian backing, has finally hit the beach of the Azov Sea, which implicitly means that the only thing that is prevent the formation of a land connection from Russia to Crimea is the city of Mariupol, which as Ukraine reported overnight, it is now massing heavy weapons for what may be the most critical fight of the entire Ukraine civil war to date.
Previewing tonight’s televised prime-time address to the nation, The Onion reports that White House aides confirmed that President Obama will reassure Americans that the impending military campaign against ISIS will be the exact same type of open-ended, drawn-out conflict that they are used to. “The president’s message is clear: This will be just another one of our routine intractable engagements in the region - it’s going to be unending, it’s going to be expensive, and it’s going to affect our credibility within the international community. There will not be any surprises for folks to worry about.”
And in The President's own words, "But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Markets Digest Wristwatch, NIRP Monetization, Catalan Independence News; Push Yields, USDJPY Even HigherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/10/2014 07:08 -0400
Overnight the most notable move has been the ongoing weakness in rates, with USTs reversing earlier Tokyo gains after BoJ Deputy Governor Iwata, in addition to commenting on a lot of things that didn't make much sense, said he didn’t see any difficulties in money market operations even if BoJ bought bought government debt with negative yields, as InTouch Capital Markets notes. As a reminder, yesterday we noted that in a historic first the "Bank Of Japan Monetizes Debt At Negative Rates." As Bloomberg notes, this may be interpreted that BoJ may target negative yields to penalize savers, which "all boosts the appeal of yen-funded carry trades." In other words, first Europe goes NIRP, now it's Japan's turn! So while this certainly lit the fire under the USDJPY some more, which overnight broke about 106.50 and hit as high as 106.75 on Iwata's comments, it does not explain why the 10Y is currently trading 2.52% - after all the fungible BOJ money will eventually make its way into US bonds and merely add to what JPM has calculated is a total $5 trillion in excess liquidity sloshing in the global market.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, numerous reports (from both sides) state that the long-awaited cease-fire in Ukraine is over. As RIA reports, the pro-Russian separatists noted Ukrainian special forces continued shelling towns and militia positions in the Donetsk region late Friday despite the ceasefire established hours before. Several reporters in the strategic 'land-bridge' city of Mariupol claims to have seen flashes from explosions and heard powerful detonations, where tanks are moving rapidly towards the eastern checkpoint. France24 also reports the Ukraine military is now accusing rebels of violating the cease-fire. AP further confirms sustained explosions outside the city of Mariupol with journalists reporting "people dying of bullet wounds." So it looks like more sanctions will be coming on Monday (European blowback any minute), no Mistral delivery (French losses), and a NATO rapid response team engage (more costs for Europe), leaving Putin with some decisions to make.
Ebola continues to spread an an exponential rate. According to the World Health Organization, 40 percent of all Ebola cases have happened in just the last three weeks. At this point, the official numbers tell us that approximately 3,967 people have gotten the virus in Africa and more than 2,105 people have died. That is quite alarming, but the real problem will arise if this disease continues to spread at an exponential pace. We have never seen anything like this in any of our lifetimes, and the scary part is that this might only be just the beginning, as the following 16 quotes from health officials suggests...
While NATO is contemplating its existential purpose in a world where the Cold War has suddenly come back with a vengeance, and the military alliance has found itself woefully unprepared to deal with a Russia which no longer accepts the supremacy of the west (appropriately enough NATO is doing this on a golf course) Russia is also strategizing, only instead of issuing "sharply-worded catchphrases" and hashtags, a Russian general has called for Russia to revamp its military doctrine, last updated in 2010, to clearly identify the U.S. and its NATO allies as Moscow's enemy number one. That in itself is not disturbing: we reported as much yesterday and is merely more rhetorical posturing. Where things, however, get very problematic is that the general demands that Russia spell out the conditions under which the country would launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the 28-member military alliance.
Just when one thought the embarrassment for Obamacare, and its epically flawed website Healthcare.gov, which according to some accounts had over 100 million lines of code, the vast majority of which did not work as it is after all a government project, could not get any worse it just did following a report in the WSJ that the website which is reasonably expected to be the safest in the world (and at a price of over $500 million it should be the safest in the world) considering it holds not only the financial but personal and healthcare data of millions of Americans, has been hacked. According to the WSJ, a hacker broke into part of the HealthCare.gov insurance enrollment website in July and uploaded malicious software. And the punchline: neither the government, nor the security contractor, Blue Canopy Group, found out it had been hacked until two months later.
Movement to Declassify 9/11 Information Gathers Momentum ... 9/11 Commission Chairs and Congressmen Call for DeclassificationSubmitted by George Washington on 08/31/2014 02:30 -0400
S&P Futures Surge Over 2000, At Record High, On Collapsing Japanese, European Economic Data, Ukraine EscalationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/29/2014 07:07 -0400
Following Wednesday's laughable tape painting close where an algo, supposedly that of Citadel under the usual instructions of the NY Fed, ramped futures just over 2,000 to preserve faith in central planning, yesterday everyone was expecting a comparable rigged move... and got it, only this time milliseconds after the close, when futures moved from solidly in the red, to a fresh record high in seconds on no news - although some speculate that Obama not announcing Syrian air strikes yesterday was somehow the bullish catalyst - and purely on another bout of algo buying whose only purpose was to preserve the overnight momentum. Sure enough, this morning we find that even as bond yields around the world continue to probe 2014 lows, and with the Ruble sinking to fresh record lows as the Ukraine situation has deteriorated to unprecedented lows, so US equity futures have once, driven by the now generic USDJPY spike just after the European open, again soared overnight, well above 2000 and are now at all time highs, driven likely by the ongoing deflationary collapse in Europe where August inflation printed 0.3%, the lowest since 2009 while the unemployment remained close to record high, while the Japanese economic abemination is now fully featured for every Keynesian professor to see, with the latest Japanese data basically continuing the pattern of sheer horror as we reported yesterday.
Obama's National Security Council Meeting Has Concluded: Here Are The People Bringing You ISIS "Strategy"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/28/2014 21:01 -0400
Shortly after Obama admitted to the world he has no strategy how to deal with ISIS, about two weeks after the "humanitarian" bombing of Iraq started, he rushed into a meeting of his National Security Council. Two and a half hours later, the meeting has finished and we hope the president finally does have a strategy, one that isn't determined solely by Qatari natural gas pipeline interests.
In the endless series of public statements by the Chief Golfer on the Ukraine.... situation... which nobody knows exactly what to call, here comes the latest one. Expect the GOTUS to dangle more threats of sanctions, red lines, hash tags, in short an all out European depression, as to how the US will respond to the latest regurgitated story of a Russian "invasion" (at least pre-retraction). The statement is scheduled for 4 pm, so expect Obama to talk around 5 pm.
"The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked, and those who watch and track them, is the relationship between masters and slaves." - Chris Hedges