The middle east is burning again: first it was the fascinating ascent of the brutal Al-Qaeda spinoff ISIS, creating its own Caliphate in northern Iraq and in the process taking over a third of Syrian territory as well as all of its oil infrastructure. Then, the latest iteration of the Israel vs Gaza conflict has now claimed over 1000 lives and is dragging virtually all neighboring countries into it as well. And the cherry on top is that the Libyan "liberation" by the US has just gone full circle, as the country is is now witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since Gadhafi’s ouster. End result: nearly two years after the deadly attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, moments ago the US once again shuttered its embassy in Libya, this time in Tripoli, evacuating more than 150 Americans to Tunisia. This is happening just 24 hours after the US Secretary of State was literally next door in Egypt, assuring the region that peace and stability are just around the corner.
After Delta Reroutes Flight Into Israel, 5 Other Airlines Suspend Flights To Tel Aviv On Missile WorriesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/22/2014 12:26 -0400
Update: U.S. FLIGHTS TO ISRAEL HALTED BY FAA
About two hours ago, and in the aftermath of the public outcry regarding flights in conflict zones, first Delta then most other major international carriers announced they would suspend flights to Israel "until further notice" amid concerns that a rocket landed near Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. The list of confirmed airlines that have halted such flights is shown below.
In Potentially "Lethal Blow" For Obamacare, US Appeals Court Finds Insurance Subsidies Invalid In Most StatesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/22/2014 10:50 -0400
Moments ago, in what NBC classified as a "potentially lethal blow to Obamacare" a federal appeals court has ruled that the federal government may not subsidize health insurance plans bought by people in states that decided not to set up their own marketplaces under Obamacare. The law clearly says that states are to set up the exchanges. But 34 states opted not to, and the federal government took over in those states. The court ruled that federal government may not pay subsidies for insurance plans in those states. As the Hill reports further, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Affordable Care Act does not permit the IRS to distribute premium subsidies in the federal ObamaCare exchange, meaning those consumers must bear the full cost of their insurance.
Would you like to have a digital identity card that is automatically issued to you at birth? In one European nation, residents use such a card when they go to the hospital, when they do their banking, when they go shopping and even when they vote. This card has become so popular that this particular European country actually plans to start issuing them to millions of non-citizens all over the planet who request them. Never heard about this? Neither had I before this week. The Economist is calling for the entire planet to adopt this “national identification system” that the little nation of Estonia has adopted. The Economist is touting all of the “benefits” of a “national identification card”, but are there dangers as well? Could adopting such a system potentially open the door for greater government tyranny than we have ever known before?
Recovery Of Malaysian Airlines Black Box Caught On Tape: Separatists To Hand Over To International DelegationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/20/2014 10:20 -0400
With the rabbit hole of conspiracies getting deeper by the hour, video has emerged showing what appears to be the "black box" flight data recorder from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 being taken from the crash scene. As NBC reports, the men in the video are wearing Ukrainian Emergency Ministry uniforms, but a senior Ukrainian official told a news conference Sunday that rebels had taken the black boxes. This fits with reports from The Hill that pro-Russian separatists have located the black boxes for the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet and will hand them over to international authorities, according to separatist leader Alexander Borodai. With the US having offered more "proof" that Russia was involved, perhaps some facts from the Black Box will help clarify details in this dreadful situation... though we are not confident.
Forget Generalities ... Let's Talk Specifics
Aldous Huxley would be doing the "told-you-so-dance" as control of the population (particularly the non-elites) has reached levels only he could have dreamed of. In the latest government plan, hot on the heels of "cash-for-clunkers" and minimum wage hikes, Berkeley - that bastion of California liberalism - has unveiled what can only be described as a "Pot-for-the-poor" scheme. As LA Times reports, under a new ordinance, at least 2% of the marijuana each dispensary doles out needs to be given free to members who have “very low” incomes (under $32,000). So not only is work punished in America, but not working now has 'benefits'... it's only fair.
As if having to pay the highest price of gas since 2008 for the Independence Day weekend wasn't bad enough, millions of traveling east coasters will now have to deal with what may develop into a hurricane as well, and will certainly result in less than perfect weather conditions as the holiday weekend unrolls. Presenting Tropical Storm Arthur. According to NBC, a hurricane watch was issued Wednesday for part of North Carolina as the first named tropical storm of the season gathered strength and threatened July Fourth celebrations along the East Coast. Negative impact to Q3 GDP? Still unknown.
In Hillary Clinton's attempt to seem "one of the people", she made the public relations debacle of portraying herself as "dead broke" at the time she and Bill Clinton left the White House. Of course, the reason this attempt at populist pandering backfired is because as is well-known, even the least educated American, the bulk of wealth American president families accrue is not while in office but after, when they hit the speaking/book publishing circuit. This is just what WaPo found when it conducted a review of the Clintons’ federal financial disclosure: it found that Bill was paid $104.9 million for delivering 542 speeches around the world between January 2001 and January 2013, when Hillary left her job as secretary of state.
"Today's SCOTUS decision is encouraging for all who believe in the checks and balances enshrined in our nation's constitution," is Darrell Issa's message following the Supreme Court's unanimous (9-0) decision cutting back the power of the White House to temporarily fill senior government posts when facing partisan opposition in Congress. The White House spokesman said President Obama was "deeply disappointed" and is 'reviewing' the decision. Simply put, President Obama used the recess appointment power to make an end run around a Senate that refused to confirm controversial nominees - thanks to this unanimous SCOTUS decision, that use of the power is all but dead.
"I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t,” she told Fast Company in an interview that ran in the magazine's May edition, explaining why she gave up lucrative gigs to join her family’s philanthropic foundation. “It is frustrating, because who wants to grow up and follow their parents? I’ve tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents … it’s a funny thing to realize I feel called to this work, both as a daughter and also as someone who believes I have contributions to make,” she continued about her reluctant status as a boomerang kid.
- The Man Who Broke the Middle East (Politico)
- Kerry presses Maliki as Iraq loses control of Syrian, Jordanian borders (Reuters)
- Hank Paulson takes on global warming next: The Coming Climate Crash - Lessons for Climate Change in the 2008 Recession (NYT)
- In Yellen We Trust Is Bond Mantra as Inflation Threats Dismissed (BBG)
- After port fraud, China's vast warehouse sector under scrutiny (Reuters)
- Draghi Says Unlimited Cash Through 2016 Is Rate Signal (BBG)
- Tapes Said to Reveal Polish Minister Disparaging U.S. Ties (NYT)
- CDC reassigns director of lab behind anthrax blunder (Reuters)
- BNP set to receive ban to transact in USD as part of $9 billion settlement (WSJ)
- GE Clears Last French Hurdle to Clinch Alstom Deal (BBG)
- Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt, supporters stunned (Reuters)
- ISDA Asked to Rule If Argentina Credit-Default Swaps Triggered (BBG)
- Levin Hearing Ups Volume in High-Frequency Call to Action (BBG)
- Ukrainian President Fires Central Bank Chief (BBG)
- Argentina Plans Debt Swap (WSJ)
- Fed Decision Day Guide From Dot Plots To Exit Strategy (BBG)
- World Bank Economist: China May Face US-Style Financial Crisis (WSJ)
- Premier Li says no hard landing for China, expects medium to high growth (Reuters)
- Putin Talks Peace With Ukraine Leader After Gas Pipe Fire (BBG)
- Poll Shows Erosion in President's Support (WSJ)
- U.S. mortgage applications plunge in latest week (Reuters)
- Ex-Goldman director goes to prison, still owes $13.9 million fine (Reuters)
So much can change over a weekend.
Earlier today we reported that despite, or rather due to, all the confusing propaganda from either side, it was not exactly clear whether and how far away from Baghdad the ISIS offensive had been halted (if at all). It appears the confusion has also impacted none other than the US State Department, which moments ago announced it would evacuate an "substantial number" of the whopping 5,500 staff situated in the US embassy in Baghdad on the banks of the Tigris river, staff which incidentally is the largest of any US embassy. Additionally, the State Dept said that some additional U.S. govt security personnel will be added to Baghdad staff as result of instability and violence in certain areas of Iraq.