"where are the opponents to the ethos that anything goes and nothing matters? Where are the political figures who can sustain a complaint long enough, and loudly enough, to keep it in the public consciousness clearly enough to make a difference? The more conspiracy-minded might say that the security apparatus (the NSA and its servelings) or Wall Street actually run the country and somehow suppress opposition. I don’t believe that. I do believe that cultures go through tragic periods when they lose their bearings and the will to be truthful to themselves."
- Welcome to the recovery:
- Oil Extends Retreat With European Stocks as Dollar Gains (BBG)
- California police, protesters clash again after 'chokehold' death (Reuters)
- Ruble’s Rout Is Tale of Failed Threats, Missteps (BBG), not to be confused with "Yen's Rout Is Tale Of Keynesian Success, Prosperity"
- Uber banned from operating in Indian capital after driver rape (Reuters)
It appears Lazard's investment banker Antonio Weiss' "help" in tax inversions is not 'unpatriotic' enough to scare President Obama off - as we suspect Weiss' bundling and donating help more than offset any ethical challenges. However, in a somewhat eye-opening financial disclosure, Bloomberg reports that Obama's nominee for undersecretary of Treasury for domestic finance, has between $54 million and $203 million in assets spread across various family trusts and his anticipated compensation in 2014 is between $5 million and $25 million. It's good to know the 'people' are well-represented once again in Washington...
One really just can't make this up. Perhaps the Fed inspector general, when he is done "fixing" the corruption at the NY Fed will be so kind to take a look at the Goldman takeover of the US judicial system next.
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.
- Scuttled deals worth $580 billion put hedge funds on back foot (Reuters)
- Mounting Pressure on OPEC Spurs More Wagers on Oil Rally (BBG)
- It's not just US real estate: Chinese Students at U.S. Universities Jump 75% in Three Years (BBG)
- Frankfurt Open for Yuan Clearing as Liquidity Rises (BBG)
- Obama defends healthcare law after adviser criticism (Reuters)
- Michael Hasenstab Bets Big in Controversial Places (WSJ)
- Facebook seeks foothold in your office (FT)
- Russia Seen as Greatest Threat in Poll as Oil Erodes Putin Power (BBG)
- Falling Oil Prices Test OPEC Unity (WSJ)
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.
Meet the next piece of work...
"Solutions to the world's problems are not produced in a meeting between Bill Gates and George Soros... Renewal has to come from below... Limiting the influence [of the richest] is of the utmost importance... so that today's upper-class, high-finance capitalism can once again revert to being a capitalism of the real economy and the societal center."
This should fix it and calm the panic:
*OBAMA SAID TO APPOINT RON KLAIN AS EBOLA CZAR, CNN TWEETS
Forget medical experience, what the USA needs to combat the worst Ebola pandemic ever is "an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents - Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011)" Gotta wonder how Tom Frieden feels about this...
"What people underestimate is that what's at stake is the entire credibility of the rules," warns one EU official as The WSJ reports, is preparing to reject France’s 2015 budget, that would be the biggest test yet of new powers for Brussels that were designed to prevent a repeat of the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis. With the looming handover to former French FinMin Pierre Moscovici (fox, henhouse?) it appears the current European Commission will not stand for Current French FinMin Sapin's plan that would run a budget deficit of 4.3% of GDP next year (far greater than the 3% deficit it had previously promised) put France’s budget in "serious noncompliance" with the new EU rules and risking sanctions of as much as 0.2% of GDP. The credibility of Brussels' new powers threatens to be seriously undermined if big countries such as France and Italy are able to flout the new rules as "it’s not like they will try - and fail; they're actually planning not do it," another EU official said.
And now, for the best news of the day, we go to NPR which reports that Eric "Too Big To Prosecute" Holder is resigning. From NPR: "Eric Holder Jr., the nation's first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and five and a half years of fights with Republicans in Congress."
The S&P’s rally has been sustained through near-zero-cost money used to: (1) buy back stock to enrich insiders and please activist hedge funds which have borrowed big to buy big; and (2) prop up the overall market because investors have learned that buying on margin when the costs are minimal - and below dividend yields - just keeps paying off. Stein’s law says, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Too bad it doesn’t say when. Gold loses its luster when: (1) inflation seems to be as remote as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; and (2) even a concatenation of crises fails to send investors rushing into the time-tested crisis consoler. We see geopolitical risks expanding from here - not contracting - and stick to our investment advice that the broad stock market is precariously valued. A range of options is available for those who wish to hedge themselves against even worse news. Gold is part of any such risk mitigation. So are long government bonds. Most importantly, we have entered an era when wise investors will devote as much time to reading the foreign news as they allocate to reading the investment section.
This is why Capitalism is failing in the US: because not only is it now clear that the US economy is, for the most part, a rigged game… but that NO ONE involved in the rigging is punished.
Current finance minister Sapin, perhaps unsurprisingly, has admitted that France will miss EU deficit targets and needs more time to rein in public finances - proclaiming, as Reuters reports, that it may take until 2017 to bring it in line. Germany's response "nein, nein, nein" with Merkel demanding EU nations stick to commitments (rejecting any plans to 'bend rules') and Schaeuble blasting that Germany is "certain France is aware of its responsibilities." But the real stunner is that as France shows its utter ineptitude in managing an economy, EU President Juncker has placed former French finance minister Moscovici in charge of Europe's taxes and finances. German lawmakers exclaimed this is "not a wise personnel decision." The core splinters...