Was it a conspiracy or was it incompetence? Those appear to be the only two alternatives that we are left with after this week's violent protests arcoss the country...
The executive actions on immigration announced last week look likely to have only a modest economic effect, because, as Goldman Sachs explains, most of the individuals eligible for the programs are already in the US and, in most cases, are likely already working. That said, Goldman estimates that the changes should increase the labor force by about 300k over the next couple of years and that possible wage gains among those gaining work authorization would increase average wages by less than 0.1%.
- National Guard, police curb Ferguson unrest as protests swell across U.S. (Reuters)
- Ferguson Reaction Across U.S. Shows Complex Racial Split (BBG)
- Democratic senator Schumer: Democrats Screwed Up By Passing Obamacare In 2010 (TPM)
- Veto threat derails Reid tax deal (Hill)
- Justice Department Investigating Possible HSBC Leak to Hedge Fund (WSJ)
- Merkel hits diplomatic dead-end with Putin (Reuters), and yet...
- Merkel Said to Reject Ukraine NATO Bid as Rousing Tension (BBG)
- HSBC, Goldman Rigged Metals’ Prices for Years, Suit Says (BBG)
A lot of Americans have an impression that drone strikes are less damaging to civilian populations than conventional airstrikes. This would be false..."A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November." We strongly believe that the reason so many Americans blindly support the widespread use of drones is due to the mistaken belief that they are precise and result in few civilian casualties. It’s important to get some of the facts out to the public in order to have a more informed debate on the matter.
It has been half a year since it was first revealed that the US has been sending non-lethal aid to the Ukraine: recall that it was in early June when Obama announced he had approved $5 million in body armor, night vision goggles and additional communications equipment for the Ukrainian military. However, as lately has been a recurrent theme, the Obama administration may not have been exactly forthright with the public or the facts. At least that is the conclusion based on hacked documents released earlier today by the Ukrainian hackers group CyberBerkut, which reveal that despite assurances to the contrary, the US has in fact been providing substantial lethal aid to Ukraine's armed forces. As Sputniknews reports, "according to the hackers, the information was obtained during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine last week, when they were able to access confidential State Department documents via a mobile device of a US delegation member."
- Ferguson in Flames (Reuters)
- Ferguson Cop Told Grand Jury He Feared for His Life (BBG)
- Sharpton: Grand Jury Announcement ‘An Absolute Blow’ (Daily Caller)
- Gunshots echo as violence returns to Ferguson, protests across U.S. (Reuters)
- BoJ members warned on costs of more easing (FT)
- Hagel Exit Shows Obama Has Taken Power Away From Pentagon (BBG)
- Ukraine leader, under pressure from West, pledges new government soon (Reuters)
- Eurozone Stagnation Poses Major Risk to Global Growth, OECD Warns (WSJ)
- ECB’s Coeure Says Officials Won’t Rush as They Debate All Assets (BBG)
"In a tense confrontation with President Obama’s closest adviser on Thursday, a group of Senate Democrats accused the White House of trying to censor significant details in a voluminous report on the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency."
It is unclear whether the person in charge of the Lois Lerner "disappeared IRS emails" strategy was also Dr. Gruber, but whoever conceived of the idiotic idea that the fatal failure of a local hard disk means that emails which are stored on at least one server miles away, and subsequently downloaded via POP3, IMAP or some other protocol, have vaporized, clearly also relied on the stupidity (and laziness) of the American people. And like in the case of Obamacare, the lies worked, if only for a short period of time. And because when it comes to lies coming from the very top, there is never just one cockroach, and they always inevitably scatter, the latest headache for a scandal-ridden president is that Lois Lerner's email, supposedly gone in perpetuity, have mysteriously reappeared, and as the Washington Examiner reports, "up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever."
Two months ago, to much fanfare by the progressive community, HHS, if not Dr. Jonathan Gruber, were delighted to report that as of August 15, Obamacare enrollment had hit 7.3 million sign ups, well above the 7.0 million goal. Then a week ago we learned that "projection mistakes were made" after the "Obama administration revised its estimate for Obamacare enrollment, now saying - with the bruising midterms safely in the rearview mirror - that it expects some 9.9 million people to have coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges in 2015, millions fewer than outside experts predicted." Fast forward to today when moments ago Bloomberg reported, that "the Obama administration included as many as 400,000 dental plans in a number it reported for enrollments under the Affordable Care Act, an unpublicized detail that helped surpass a goal for 7 million sign-ups."
- Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Calls Snap Election (WSJ) - as repeatedly priced in...
- Flash Boys Raising Volatility in Wild New Treasury Market (BBG)
- Not Greece again: Greek Bailout Review Stalls as Troika Demands Final Steps (BBG)
- Iran uses China bank to transfer funds to Quds-linked companies (Reuters)
- Porn Mags With Free Madrid Theater Tickets in Tax Protest (BBG)
- Hong Kong, China stocks ease on profit-taking after stock connect launch (Reuters) - Hang Seng down 500 points in past 2 days
- Halliburton Mega-Deal Sealed by CEOs Over Coke and Coffee (BBG)
- Wall Street to Reap $316 Million From Day of Mega Deals (BBG)
- Mass murderer Charles Manson gets marriage license, state says (Reuters)
- 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)
Endless War Is the Agenda
Suddenly it is not just the shale companies that are starting to look impaired as a result of tumbling energy prices. According to a Deutsche Bank analysis looking at what the "tipping point" for highly levered companies is in "oil price terms", things start to get really ugly should crude drop another $15 or so per barrell. Its conclusion: "we would expect to see 1/3rd of US energy Bs/CCCs to restructure, which would imply a 15% default rate for overall US HY energy, and a 2.5% contribution to the broad US HY default rate.... A shock of that magnitude could be sufficient to trigger a broader HY market default cycle, if materialized. "
- Moar central banks! Asian Stocks Rise Amid Stimulus Speculation; Topix Jumps (BBG)
- Syria rebels in south emerge as West's last hope as moderates crushed elsewhere (Reuters)
- Bufett's Berkshire to Buy Duracell Business From Procter & Gamble in $3B Deal (AP)
- Weak Demand, Real-Estate Slump Signal Headwinds for China (WSJ)
- China Slowdown Deepens as Leaders Said to Mull Cutting Target (BBG)
- Saudis Reject Talk of OPEC Market Share War as Oil Slides (BBG)
- Oil Tankers Stream Toward China as Price Drop Sparks Boom (BBG)
Our political-financial system has gone from the dysfunctional to the failed to the surreal. Speculation, once left to individuals and investors, is now federally sponsored, subsidized and institutionalized. When this sham finally buckles and the next shoe falls and rates do eventually rise, the stock market will tank, liquidity will die, and the broader economy will plunge into a worse Depression than before. We are not there yet because of these coordinated moves and the political force behind them. But we are on a precarious path to that inevitability.