New York Times
Despite what irrelevant US stock futures indicate, just like yesterday the true appreciation of risk comes from the Gulf region, where following yesterday's 7% rout in the Saudi index, today the drubbing continues. And for those who are confused why the Egyptian stock market continues to be closed, just take one look at what is happening with the Saudi Tadawul Index. Further confirming that Saudi Arabia is coming unglued are Saudi CDS which as we predicted a month ago, are well on their way to 200 and onward, last printing at 145, the widest they have been since July 2009.
Earlier today, we reported that the US military is in the process of repositioning its forces in the area around Libya "to be able to provide flexibility and options." And while we have yet to get an updated US naval map for this week (the last one can be found here), it appears that the USS Enterprise which was previously on its way to the Straits of Hormuz has made a 180 and has now backtracked completely through the Red Sea and is now once again north of the Suez, where it has joined the big deck amphibious warfare ship Kearsarge. This means that the USS Vinson is again left alone to protect the highly combustible gulf region, which now includes both Bahrain and Oman, in addition to Yemen and of course Iran and Saudi, on revolutionary watch. It may be time to send Abraham Lincoln, which in turn is patrolling the South China Sea, back to the Persian Gulf as the possibility of a flashpoint escalation there is far greater than around Indonesia (which however would leave all of Korea and China unguarded). Keep an eye out on CVN 74 and 76 - Stennis and Reagan. If those two start making a move west, then next steps can be extrapolated quite easily.
In a January 2009 ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos, then President-elect Barack Obama said fixing the economy required shared sacrifice, "Everybody’s going to have to give. Everybody’s going to have to have some skin in the game." For the past two years, American workers submitted to the President’s appeal—taking steep pay cuts despite hectic productivity growth. By contrast, corporate executives have extracted record profits by sabotaging the recovery on every front—eliminating employees, repressing wages, withholding investment, and shirking federal taxes. Washington’s embrace of labor market flexibility ensured companies encountered little resistance when they launched their brutal recovery plans. Leading into the recession, the US had the weakest worker protections against individual and collective dismissals in the world, according to a 2008 OECD study. Blackrock’s Robert Doll explains, “When the markets faltered in 2008 and revenue growth stalled, U.S. companies moved decisively to cut costs—unlike their European and Japanese counterparts.” The U.S. now has the highest unemployment rate among the ten major developed countries.
With must-see Dan Rather news clip ...
Leading Indicators of Revolt in the Middle East and Northern Africa: Corruption, Unemployment and Percentage of Household Money Spent on FoodSubmitted by George Washington on 02/21/2011 13:17 -0500
The Numbers Behind the Middle Eastern and North African Revolts
Don't fall for the old divide-and-conquer trick ...
You Know Those Obnoxious Posters Who Almost Seem Like Alter Egos Of The Same Person? They Actually Might Be ...Submitted by George Washington on 02/18/2011 17:09 -0500
Government and big business are gaming social media ...
The situation in Bahrain is now critical, with live fire raining (literally: the army is shooting from helicopters on citizens and journalists) on protesters, resulting in dozens killed, even as Libya (9th largest crude reserves in the world) is rumored to be in a comparable situation. The countdown on Saudi Arabia is now on. Watch the latest development at Al Jazeera which is now broadcasting live from Manama.
FBI Translator Submitted Report Entitled "Kamikaze Pilots" to Bureau 5 Months Before 9/11 Warning of Al Qaeda Attacks on U.S. CitiesSubmitted by George Washington on 02/18/2011 00:25 -0500
9/11 was as foreseeable as the financial crisis ...
"I remember when McDonald’s first released the “Super Size” promotion. You were supposed to get in line and say to the attendant “super size” me, at which point you would be served an egregiously sized portion of fries and soda. Pretty soon after that American obesity levels starting going through the roof. In any event, we won’t be having this problem much longer. Sizes are about to shrink dramatically and prices will go up at the same time. Food quality will probably decrease as well, which is hard to imagine considering the crap that is sold as food every day. In any event, I have a suggestion for McDonald’s. They should just teach us Americans to accept our indentured servitude to the financial oligarchs and roll out a “Serf Size” menu. People will get to the acceptance stage that much faster as they say, “serf size me!” and then walk away with three fries and a five ounce soda." - Mike Krieger
Sure, there is pure imperial motivation ... but there is also a faulty economic model.
True conservatives want a strong economy. But war is bad for the economy ...
It is a Monday, and like any day ending in "y" we get another Obama administration foreign relations screw up. Today's edition comes from President Obama's special envoy to Cairo, Frank Wisner, who over the weekend made waves with his call urging for Hosni Mubarak to remain president. The glitch, however, is that supposedly unbeknownst to the administration and to the journalist cadre, Mr. Wisner works for litigation firm Patton Boggs, which according to the Independent: "openly boasts that it advises "the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government's behalf in Europe and the US". Wisner's words, now making the rounds, and which appear to have infuriated Egypt's opposition just as things were going back to normal: "President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical: it's his opportunity to write his own legacy." In other words, yet another huge conflict of interest by a man paid by none other than the president of Egypt, which has "called into question Mr Obama's judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton", and puts Obama's (in)ability to handle foreign conflicts, in an even more questionable light.
- A Modest $500 Billion Proposal (Rand Paul, WSJ)
- AOL Agrees To Acquire The Huffington Post (HuffPo)
- When HuffPost Met AOL: "A Merger of Visions" - Ariana Huffington Explains The Logic Behind The Deal (HuffPo)
- Fed Spends 40% on Benchmark Treasuries as Newest Proves Cheapest (Bloomberg) actually no, they are very rarely cheapest as Zero Hedge has actually demonstrated instead of insinuating
- China Moves to Strengthen Grip Over Supply of Rare-Earth Metals (WSJ)
- Tunisia takes steps to halt "security breakdown" (Reuters)
- Suleiman holds talks on Egypt reforms (FT)
- More bad news for wheat: Perth Area Declared Disaster Zone as Bushfires Rage Near City (BusinessWeek)
- 'Toxic' Assets Still Lurking at Banks (WSJ)
- European corporate tax plans under fire (FT)
- Sputnikonomics (New Yorker)
Can markets alone save the pension promise? Of course not, but that doesn't mean we should abolish defined-benefit plans...