In the 1st installment of this article – May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor – The Reaping, we addressed how wealth inequality created by men rigging the system and utilizing media propaganda ultimately leads to rebellion. In Part 2, we will show how hope and defiance can ignite the flame of liberty in the minds of men. Edward Snowden has ignited that flame. A Lot of Hope is Dangerous... Linear thinking old timers are likely to scoff at the notion that some trilogy of novels for teenagers could capture the mood of the time in a way that explains how the people of this country will respond to the current worsening Crisis. History is cyclical and we’ve returned to a time where leaders will step forward to lead and brave heroes step forward to fight. The future of the country hangs in the balance.
Contrary to some expectations, the budget deal has done absolutely nothing to push global markets or US futures higher which was to be expected: markets are no longer driven by fundamentals but by such things as carry pairs which signal monetary policies. Sure enough, as a result of the strength in the Yen, overnight markets have reacted with a mixture of cautiousness and optimism. On the cautious side, Asian equities are down across the board which can at least be partially attributed to nervousness at the prospect of a December Fed taper. If Congress passes the budget over the next few days, the probability of a taper next week increase at the margin, given that we have lower fiscal uncertainty (and higher spending) over the next two years. Losses in equities are being led by the Nikkei (-0.7%) and the Hang Seng (-1.3%). Asian credit shows no sign of taper nervousness this morning with the Asia IG index 4bp tighter and high beta EM names such as Indonesia trading firmer (5yr CDS -10bp). 10yr UST yields are unchanged at 2.80% and the US dollar is slightly stronger against the major crosses. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index is down 2.3% ahead of the results of China’s central economic work conference which is expected to end tomorrow and may set a number of economic targets for 2014.
Probably the largest and most watched funeral (memorial service) of the modern era and it appears President Obama just could not resist a selfie with Denmark's leggy blond PM (oh and David Cameron)... as an aside, it seems FLOTUS was not amused.
It’s always astonishing how funerals and memorial services can do two things to people. They make platform for public show and then they provide the opportunity for public speaking that knows no bounds in the hope that they will be remembered for eternity.
All five regulatory agencies put to a vote and approved the Volcker rule on Tuesday, supposedly, as The WSJ reports, ushering in a new era of tough oversight that drills to the core of Wall Street's profitable markets and trading businesses. As President Obama just ordered via Bloomberg:
- *OBAMA SAYS VOLCKER RULE WILL MAKE FINANCIAL SYSTEM SAFER
Of course, now the various regulators line up at the trough demanding more funding to cover all the details of all the pages of all the new laws that all of the banks will now have to address on all of their trades...
As the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela; following his oration, it seems President Obama has taken the opportunity to seek advice from world leaders on better managing his nation...
- Glass-Steagall Fans Plan New Assault If Volcker Rule Deemed Weak (BBG) ... "if"? The banks control the legislators and regulators...
- Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA (USA Today)
- Major tech companies push for limits on government surveillance (Reuters)
- Shanghai Warns Kids to Stay Indoors for Seventh Day on Smog (BBG)
- Protesters fell Lenin statue, tell Ukraine's president 'you're next' (Reuters)
- Everyone must be flying private these days: EADS to cut 5000-6000 jobs, close Paris HQ in restructuring (FT)
- Big Players Trade 'Upstairs' (WSJ)
- There’s no way to tell how many people who think they’ve signed up for health insurance through the U.S. exchange actually have (BBG)
- Slower China inflation reduces worries of tighter policy (Reuters)
After struggling for many months, Nelson Mandela has passed away at age 95. Leaders from South Africa's Zuma, New Zealand's Key, UK's Cameron, and now President Obama seemed to be ready with prepared statements and Obama is due to address the nation at 1720ET to mourn the "inspirational leader, remarkable man."
As we noted last month, President Obama sat down for an interview with Chuck Todd on November 7 and said: "When we buy I.T. services generally, it is so bureaucratic and so cumbersome that a whole bunch of it doesn’t work or it ends up being way over cost." Well, this week we learned that the gap’s been closed. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told us so. In its official report, HHS not only announced that it had “met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users,” but wrote that “the team is operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness.” That sure was quick. Reviewing these facts, we suppose HHS could support their claim to “private sector velocity and effectiveness” with some semantic tricks. If you interpret that phrase as referring to the principle contractors’ adeptness at winning huge, no-bid contracts through personal connections, donations, fund raising and lobbying, then it all adds up.
In the last election it was the Millennials (18-29 year olds) that brough President Obama home on his hope and change miracle tour; but now, just over a year later, a Harvard Institute of Politics poll finds that a stunning 57% of 18-29 year olds disapprove of Obamacare. As we noted before, this is a critical breakdown in making the Affordable Care Act 'affordable' but it seems less healthy customer are more likely to persevere through the techical obstacle to gain coverage than younger, healthier "customers" who feel less need for insurance (never mind the "easy" women and keg-standing men). The poll gets worse with 40% expecting the quality of their coverage to worsen, and as Bloomberg reports, even more troubling for the White House, almost half in that age group say they’re unlikely to enroll in insurance through a government exchange, even if eligible.
Having "fixed" Obamacare, the President is ready to re-pitch American 'excellence' today as he addresses the state of the economy. Remember, good is bad and bad is good - do don't over-sell it... oh, and all the bad stuff - that's the Tea-Party's fault... Just don't show him (or anyone) this chart...
Although Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Northeast Asia this week will likely focus on defusing tensions over China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), this is hardly the only issue plaguing the U.S. in Asia. In general, U.S. Asia policy during the second Obama administration has lacked focus as senior officials have been preoccupied with domestic and other international challenges. Moreover, a number of other issues suggest that the administration continues to give inadequate attention to the Asia-Pacific, and the results it is getting reflect this relative neglect.
Amid proclamations of hundreds of thousands accessing the "fixed" website (though no details on who is signing up), admissions that work continues to be needed, delays, and broken promises; President Obama has deemed it fit to utilize his lectern to market the Affordable Care Act once again.
*U.S. SAYS OBAMACARE WEBSITE ERROR RATES ARE 'AT LOW LEVELS'; but
*BOEHNER SAYS OBAMACARE IS 'FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED'
From "easy" women to keg-standing kids, there is something for everyone in this special one-time offer... grab your popcorn...
- With website improved, Obama to pitch health plan (Reuters)
- Joe Biden condemns China over air defence zone (FT)
- Tally of U.S. Banks Sinks to Record Low (WSJ)
- Black Friday Weekend Spending Drop Pressures U.S. Stores (BBG)
- Cyber Monday Sales Hit Record as Amazon to EBay Win Shoppers (BBG)
- Ukraine's Pivot to Moscow Leaves West Out in the Cold (WSJ)
- Investment banks set to cut pay again despite rise in profits (FT)
- Worst Raw-Material Slump Since ’08 Seen Deepening (BBG)
- Democrats Face Battles in South to Hold the Senate (WSJ)
- Hong Kong reports 1st case of H7N9 bird flu (AP)
- In Fracking, Sand Is the New Gold (WSJ)