Just days after the tragic crash of a Malaysian Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine, Western politicians and media joined together to gain the maximum propaganda value from the disaster. It had to be Russia; it had to be Putin, they said. President Obama held a press conference to claim – even before an investigation – that it was pro-Russian rebels in the region who were responsible. His ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, did the same at the UN Security Council – just one day after the crash! While western media outlets rush to repeat government propaganda on the event, there are a few things they will not report.
For Americans, it was like the news from nowhere. Years had passed since reporters bothered to head for the country we invaded and blew a hole through back in 2003, the country once known as Iraq that our occupation drove into a never-ending sectarian nightmare. In 2011, the last U.S. combat troops slipped out of the country, their heads “held high,” as President Obama proclaimed at the time, and Iraq ceased to be news for Americans. With Maliki, it has simply been a different dictator, enjoying even more such support (until these last weeks), and using similarly barbaric tactics against Iraqis. Today, Washington’s policies continue in the same mindless way as more fuel is rushed to the bonfire that is incinerating Iraq.
- Bubble Paranoia Setting in as S&P 500 Surge Stirs Angst (BBG)
- But how will math PhDs determine "fair value" - Wall Street Techs Take Secrets to Next Job at Their Peril (BBG)
- U.S., EU Escalate Russia Sanctions as Putin Holds Firm (Bloomberg)
- Australia Becomes First Developed Nation to Repeal Carbon Tax (WSJ)
- Gaza humanitarian truce goes into force, hours after tunnel clash (Reuters)
- Barclays, Deutsche Bank Said to Face U.S. Senate Hearing (BBG)
- ECB Asset Buying Far Off and May Not Come, Hansson Says (BBG)
- Time Warner win would make Murdoch U.S. media king (Reuters)
- Costly Vertex Drug Is Denied, and Medicaid Patients Sue (WSJ)
- China Rallying for All Wrong Reasons to Top-Rated Analyst (BBG)
- GM recalls some cars with problematic switches; judges others safe (Reuters)
While we understand that there are many nuances in the ongoing illegal immigrant debate, and there are certainly two sides to every story, we can't help but wonder if the US government granting a $50 million award to BCFS Health and Human Services to house "young illegal immigrants at the site of the current Palm Aire Hotel and Suites" in Weslaco, Texas is the best use of government funding. As KRGV reported, " A center for unaccompanied minors set to open in Weslaco later this year will be the first of its kind in the nation, officials with a network of non-profits said. A center for unaccompanied minors set to open in Weslaco later this year will be the first of its kind in the nation, officials with a network of non-profits said... Representatives with BCFS said the Palm Aire will undergo a multi-million dollar transformation."
US Encourages Corporations To Engage In M&A "Inversion" Bubble, Then Shames Them By Demanding "Economic Patriotism"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/16/2014 09:32 -0400
To summarize: the US government first allows corporations (or "people" per SCOTUS) to not only inflate their stock to record highs (via a debt funded, stock buyback scramble facilitated by the Fed's ZIRP bubble), the same companies then engage in the only logical activity that makes sense for the bottom line, one which leaves no tax payments for the US whatsoever, and then the US hopes corporations will show some "economic patriotism." In other words, shame them into adding even more capital misallocation on top what is already the worst case of central-planning since the fall of the USSR. Add this to the "less cynicism, more hope" recent appeal by Obama, and at this rate US GDP will explode courtesy of soaring healthcare fees as everyone ends up in psychotherapy from the resulting cognitive bias of doing the one thing the US government allows, permits and encourages, the very same thing that the same government subsequently shames everyone into having done in the first place!
"It's not clear to us that breaking commercial ties with the Russia partners, consumers gets anyone to where they want to be," warns one political think tank as AP reports, The White House is considering imposing unilateral sanctions on Russia over its threatening moves in Ukraine - a move reflecting frustration at Europe's reluctance to bit off its nose to spite its face. Until now, the U.S. has insisted on hitting Russia with penalties in concert with Europe in order to maximize the impact, but, as Putin warned, those same economic ties have made Europe fearful that tougher penalties against Russia could boomerang and hurt their own economies. Obam has faced criticism over a lack of action, as Bob Corker blasted "sometimes I'm embarrassed for you, as you constantly talk about sanctions and yet, candidly, we never see them put in place," but the European 'concerns' are just as valid in America as Utilities in the U.S. are scrambling for coal, on pace to increase imports 26% this year.
- BRICS set up bank to counter Western hold on global finances (Reuters)
- Fed's Yellen Hedges Her View on Rates (Hilsenrath)
- China GDP Grows 7.5% in Second Quarter (WSJ)
- Get More Acquainted With Your Knees as Boeing Reworks 737 (BBG)
- Israel Warns Gazans of New Attack After Hamas Rejects Truce (WSJ)
- Israel poised for Gaza incursions after truce collapses (Reuters)
- China Housing Sales Fall in First Half of 2014 (WSJ)
- IBM to offer iPads and iPhones for business users (Reuters)
- Fed's George says strengthening economy warrants quick rate rise (Reuters)
When we first brought the transformation of the American economy into a part-time worker society in 2010, many scoffed and suggested that when the 'recovery' really gets going the temp jobs will all be morphed into high-paying full-time jobs. That hasn't happened, and in fact, as we noted most recently, it's got worse. As Mort Zuckerman blasts in his rampagingly honest WSJ Op-Ed, "Most people will have the impression that the 288,000 jobs created last month were full-time. Not so." And more directly, "most Americans wouldn't call this an economic recovery." The lack of breadwinners working full time is a burgeoning disaster that we have covered extensively. There are 48 million people in the U.S. in low-wage jobs, resulting, as Zuckerman concludes, "Faith in the American dream is eroding fast."
If one were so inclined, one could imagine that the relentless barrage of domestic scandals plaguing Obama have been orchestrated with a simple reason: to divert attention from the worst US foreign policy in four decades. And sure enough, even a casual glimpse of all the raging international crises, in which the US is currently embroiled, is enough to make one wonder if the next global crisis will be fought not in the capital markets but in the actual battlefield. As the WSJ recounts, "a convergence of security crises is playing out around the globe, from the Palestinian territories and Iraq to Ukraine and the South China Sea, posing a serious challenge to President Barack Obama's foreign policy and reflecting a world in which U.S. global power seems increasingly tenuous. The breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn't been seen since the late 1970s, U.S. security strategists say, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, revolutionary Islamists took power in Iran, and Southeast Asia was reeling in the wake of the U.S. exit from Vietnam."
"The government really needs to get its message out to the American people, and it knows that the best way to do that is by using the American news media, said Shanker. The relationship between the government and the media is like a marriage; it is a dysfunctional marriage to be sure, but we stay together for the kids."
Congratulations America: after severing ties with Russia, crushing cordial relations with China (leading to this stunning announcement by China's president), alienating France (which is now openly calling for an end to the petrodollar), the Obama administration - following not one, not two, but three spying scandals in just the past year - has managed to sour relations with Germany to a point where one wonders just who is a remaining US ally in Europe these days. According to Bloomberg, the German chancellor’s office has issued instructions to national intelligence services to limit cooperation with U.S. following alleged U.S. spying case, Bild reports without saying where it got information.
- Carl Icahn says 'time to be cautious' on U.S. stocks (Reuters)
- Banco Espirito Santo Lifts Lid on Exposure to Group (BBG)
- Slowing Customer Traffic Worries U.S. Retailers (WSJ)
- Insurgents enter military base northeast of Baghdad (Reuters)
- Obama tells Israel U.S. ready to help end hostilities (Reuters)
- Japan economics minister warns of premature QE exit, sees room for more easing (Reuters)
- Greek Banks See Quadrupling of Housing Loans by Next Year (BBG) ... to fund buybacks like in the US?
- Piggy Banks Being Raided Signal Swedish Housing Dilemma (BBG)
- London Seeks New Spenders as Russians Skip $719 Champagne (BBG)
Just when we thought US foreign policy couldn't sink to new lows, it does just that. Recall yesterday's less than veiled threat by China president Xi Jinping Xi called for greater military communication with the U.S., adding that "A conflict between China and United States will definitely be a disaster for the two countries and the world. As long as we uphold mutual respect, maintain strategic patience and remain unperturbed by individual incidents and comments, we’ll be able to keep relations on a firm footing despite ups and downs that may come our way.” So what does the US do? Nothing short of taking a machete and poking the Dragon in the mouth.
It’s vogue, trendy and appropriate to look to dystopian literature as a harbinger of what we’re experiencing at the hands of the government. Certainly, George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm have much to say about government tyranny, corruption, and control, as does Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report. Yet there are also older, simpler, more timeless stories - folk tales and fairy tales - that speak just as powerfully to the follies and foibles in our nature as citizens and rulers alike that give rise to tyrants and dictatorships. One such tale, Hans Christian Andersen’s fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, is a perfect paradigm of life today in the fiefdom that is the American police state, only instead of an imperial president spending money wantonly on lavish vacations, entertainment, and questionable government programs aimed at amassing greater power, Andersen presents us with a vain and thoughtless emperor, concerned only with satisfying his own needs at the expense of his people, even when it means taxing them unmercifully, bankrupting his kingdom, and harshly punishing his people for daring to challenge his edicts.
Having explained how well the economy is going - best in the world, apparently - President Obama is moving on to the immigration scandal. In an unexpected address from his fund-raising trip to Texas (Dallas actually - 100s of miles from the border), and on the heels of his 'executive action' demands on immigration reform, Obama will explain how it's none of his fault and unless 'the other side' give him carte blanche, it's a humanitarian crisis... think of the children (and the taxpayer funding)...