New York Times
Kyle Bass covers three critical topics in this excellent in-depth interview before turning to a very wide-ranging and interesting Q&A session. The topics he focuses on are Central bank expansion (with a mind-numbing array of awe-full numbers to explain just where the $10 trillion of freshly created money has gone), Japan's near-term outlook ("the next 18 months in Japan will redefine the economic orthodoxy of the west"), and most importantly since, as he notes, "we are investing in things that are propped up and somewhat made up," the psychology of negative outcomes. The latter, Bass explains, is one of the most frequently discussed topics at his firm, as he points out that "denial" is extremely popular in the financial markets. Simply put, Bass explains, we do not want to admit that there is this serious (potentially perilous) outcome that disallows the world to continue on the way it has, and that is why so many people, whether self-preserving or self-dealing, miss all the warning signs and get this wrong - "it's really important to understand that people do not want to come to the [quantitatively correct but potentially catastrophic] conclusion; and that's why things are priced the way they are in the marketplace." Perhaps this sentence best sums up his realism and world view: "I would like to live in a world where it's all rainbows and unicorns and we can make Krugman the President - but intellectually it's simply dishonest."
Eventually the money runs out. Much of America was shocked when the city of Detroit defaulted on a $39.7 million debt payment and announced that it was suspending payments on $2.5 billion of unsecured deb. Anyone with half a brain and a calculator could see this coming from a mile away. But people kept foolishly lending money to the city of Detroit, and now many of them are going to get hit really hard. But what Detroit is facing is not really that unique. In fact, Detroit is a perfect example of what the future of America is going to look like. We live in a nation that is rotting, decaying, drowning in debt and racing toward insolvency. Just like Detroit, a day is rapidly approaching when America will not be able to kick the can down the road anymore. Sadly, our politicians don't seem inclined to do anything about it and most of the population seems to think that our exploding national debt is not a significant problem. By the time it becomes clear how wrong they were, it will be far too late to do anything about it.
China! Honestly, it comes to something when China jumps on the accusatory band-wagon asking the US administration to provide some comments about its monitoring programs and answer up to the international community.
...You were considered a hoarder and a slacker if you still resisted turning over your gold to the government.
It's On: US "Finds" Chemical Weapon Use Against Syrian Rebels; Military Proposes Arming Rebels, No-Fly ZoneSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/13/2013 16:51 -0400
The "red-line" has been crossed. The New York Times is reporting that:
U.S. CONCLUDES SYRIA USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST REBELS: NYT, and
NYT SAYS EUROPEAN OFFICIALS REACH SAME CONCLUSION ON SYRIA
MCCAIN SAYS U.S. TO PROVIDE WEAPONS TO SYRIAN REBELS
And alongside that finding, as part of (or justification for?) the arming of the Syrian rebels, the WSJ reports that the US Military is calling for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria. The seriousness of this escalation must be put in the context of a desperately-needed distraction for the current administration - which makes the decisions being made even more concerning in their potential for extremes.
Top National Security Experts: Spying Program Doesn’t Make Us Safer, and Spying Leaks Don’t Harm AmericaSubmitted by George Washington on 06/13/2013 13:18 -0400
NSA Leaks Help – Rather than Hurt – the United States
There's no way to sugarcoat the dismal performance of the precious metals in recent months. But a revisitation of the reasons for owning them reveals no cracks in the underlying thesis for doing so. In fact, there are a number of new compelling developments arguing that the long heartbreak for gold and silver holders will soon be over.
Over the weekend we pointed out one of the more disturbing facets of the Snowden espionage affair: the covert, if massive (and very lucrative) symbiosis between private companies, who have explicitly opened up all private client data contrary to privacy disclosures, and a secretly uber-inquisitive government. We asked: "The reality is that while the NSA, which is a public entity through and through, is allowed and expected to do whatever its superiors tell it (i.e., the White House), how does one justify the complete betrayal of their customers by private corporations such as Verizon and AT&T? This may be the most insidious and toxic symbiosis between the public and private sector in the recent past." But while the quid was finally made public (if known by many long ago), the quo wasn't quite clear. It now is - the answer, as as always, is money. And not just any money, but in this specific case taxpayer money paid to either Google or Amazon by none other than the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA for short. Lots of it.
America's Enemies Now Using Carrier Pigeons And Invisible Ink Letters: The Absurd, The Tragicomic And The BizarreSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/12/2013 12:53 -0400
Is there a legitimate security need to monitor the entire world's communications? There are reasonable arguments to be made for and against this proposition, but what's missing is the sense that the nation's citizenry should have a say in these policy decisions. We're supposed to be satisfied that a handful of thoroughly corrupted-by-the-corporatocracy congresspeople have been spoon-fed a thin dribble of intelligence gruel and told to rubberstamp it in the name of democracy. This calls to mind the notion that authorities inoculate the public with carefully measured doses of the operative master agenda and narrative.... By carefully releasing bits and pieces of the program, authorities inoculate the public against outrage or political action; the citizenry soon habituates to the master agenda and internalizes it to the point of self-management: we're spied upon for our own good.... This is precisely the mindset that fueled the 1950s witch-hunts of suspected Communists: guilt by association.
"Be lawyered up to the max... and and always check your six," is the warning (advice) that Thomas Drake offers Edward Snowden in this brief interview. "Always make sure you know what's behind you," he adds, "when you offer up information about the dark side of the surveillance state they don't take too kindly to it." Drake, whose life was "essentially destroyed," after being prosecuted in 2010 under the Espionage Act, is now a technical expert at an Apple store, but he still believes what he did was worth it, having no doubts: "Is freedom worth it? Is liberty worth it? Is not living in a surveillance society worth it? You've got to stand up and defend the rights and the freedoms that prevent that from actually happening. [Edwards' information] is validation of this vast, now systemic, industrial-scale leviathan surveillance system."
Are Emergency Plans Meant Only for Nuclear War the Real Justification for Spying?
What most undermines the claims of the Administration and its defenders about this surveillance program is the process itself. First the government listens in on all of our telephone calls without a warrant and then if it finds something it goes to a FISA court and get an illegal approval for what it has already done! This turns the rule of law and due process on its head. The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We need to turn the cameras on the police and on the government, not the other way around... We should be thankful for writers like Glenn Greenwald, who broke last week’s story, for taking risks to let us know what the government is doing. There are calls for the persecution of Greenwald and the other whistle-blowers and reporters. They should be defended, as their work defends our freedom.
Top NSA Official: Government Tapping CONTENT, Not Just Metadata … Using Bogus “Secret Interpretation” of Patriot Act