While military officials have stated that their "advisers" are not involved in the fighting, WaPo reports that ISIS militants have seized an Iraqi town within two miles of the Ayn al-Asad base where 300 US military advisers are stationed. The region remains under "severe threat" and the local council has called for "immediate and urgent military reinforcements” after the attack on the town of al-Baghdadi, which began in the early morning." It seems those non-boots-on-the-ground advisers are about to get a taste of what President Obama promised they would not...
- Greece will do 'whatever it can' to reach deal with EU (Reuters)
- ECB Urges Greek Political Deal as Emergency Cash Is Tight (BBG)
- Fighting rages in run-up to Ukraine ceasefire (Reuters)
- Eurozone GDP Picks Up, Thanks to Germany (WSJ)
- Two J. P. Morgan Executives Connected to Asia Hiring Probe Pushed Out (WSJ)
- Putin's High Tolerance for Pain and Europe's Reluctance to Inflict It (BBG)
- Indigestion Hits Top U.S. Food Firms (WSJ)
- Alibaba's Jack Ma seeks to reassure employees over U.S. lawsuits (Reuters)
The "Catastrophic Shutdown Of America's Supply Chain" Begins: Stunning Photos Of West Coast Port CongestionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/13/2015 00:20 -0400
As America continues to drift toward totalitarianism, it is only a matter of time before political speech on the Internet is regulated. It is already happening in other countries all around the globe, and control freak politicians in the US have begun a renewed push to regulate independent news websites. People are hungry for the truth, and an increasing number of Americans are waking up to the fact that they are not getting the truth from the corporate-controlled media. But as the alternative media has grown, it was only going to be a matter of time before the establishment started cracking down on it.
- 'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit (Reuters)
- Ruble Rebounds, Russian Stocks Surge on Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal (BBG)
- Greek PM Tsipras in Brussels as clock ticks on EU bailout (Reuters)
- Emerging-Market Currencies Rout Not Over for Traders (BBG)
- Little noticed, new Saudi king shapes contours of power (Reuters)
- In Wake of Financial Crisis, Goldman Goes It Alone (WSJ)
- AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires (BBG)
- Thousands to Lose Health Insurance Over Residency Questions (WSJ)
"Our era is a strange one when considering how social attitudes have developed in such a contrary fashion to the rest of history. I think that our forefathers would look upon our current culture with bewilderment when confronted with the fact that our generation has all but abandoned the option of physical rebellion as a tool for social change. I believe a revolution is indeed necessary, a final revolution to remove the influence of the globalist cult once and for all — not only their puppet governments, puppet political parties and puppet despots, but the globalists themselves. Will bad men still exist in this world? Of course they will. But the kind of advanced and well-organized internationlist machine that thirves today will no longer exist. To save a patient poisoned to the extreme, the patient must be purged until his body can recover on its own. The elites are a poison that must be physically removed from the human system."
The dominoes are beginning to fall. The initial spark in 2008 has triggered a series of unyielding responses by those in power, but further emergencies and unintended consequences juxtapose, connect and accelerate a chain reaction that will become uncontainable once a tipping point is reached. The fabric of society is tearing at points of extreme vulnerability, with depression, violence and war on the foreseeable horizon. Mr. President, the shadow of crisis has not passed. The looming shadow of crisis grows ever larger and darker by the day as this Crisis enters the most dangerous phase, where the existing social order will be swept away in a torrent of carnage and ferocious struggle. We are not a chosen people. We are not immune from dire outcomes.
As we detailed earlier, the Nobel peace prize-winning president has been busy today: not only did he already petition Congress earlier to declare war on the Islamic State, a non-country which technically doesn't exist, but now he plans to expand his "war powers" to any other place in the world. We look forward to hearing his explanation for how his "promise" not to put boots on the ground jibes with today's request to deploy boots on the ground... somewhere... anywhere... against ISIS.
Well that didn't take long. Just an hour or so after Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko, and Putin got together to drink tea in Minsk, they have a 'deal':
*RUSSIA, UKRAINE, GERMANY, FRANCE LEADERS READY DECLARATION TO REAFFIRM MINSK CEASE-FIRE DEAL: IFX
*JOINT DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF UKRAINE'S TERRITORIAL SOVEREIGNTY
So - to summarize - they agree to a cease-fire (which saw 1000s killed and shelling continue last time) and to support Ukraine's territorial sovereignty (except of course Eastern Ukraine?) Face-saving headline-maker comes to mind. Stocks don't care though - they are buying it.
So far it has been largely a repeat of the previous overnight session, where absent significant macro drivers, the attention again remains focused both on China, which reported some truly ugly inflation (with 0.8% Y/Y CPI the lowest since Lehman, just call it deflation net of the "goalseeking") data (which as usually is "good for stocks" pushing the SHCOMP 1.5% higher as it means even more easing), and on Greece, which has not made any major headlines in the past 24 hours as patience on both sides is growing thin ahead of the final "bluff" showdown between Greece and the Eurozone is imminent. The question as usual is who will have just a fraction more leverage in the final assessment - Greece has made its ask known, and it comes in the form of 10 billion euros in short-term "bridge" financing consisting of €8 billion increase in Bills issuance and €1.9 billion in ECB profits, as it tries to stave off a funding crunch, a proposal which will be presented on the Wednesday meeting of euro area finance ministers in Brussels. The question remains what Europe's countrbid, if any, will be. For the answer: stay tuned in 24 hours.
"Success is anything but certain," warned Germany's Merkel during the uncomfortably un-united joint press conference as both the leaders appeared to be able to agree on only one thing - that a military solution will not happen. This was followed by what appeared to be President Obama conceding to Merkel that the provision of arms to Ukraine was kinda sorta 'off-the-table' - though still under "ongoing analysis." Hopes remain for a diplomatic solution and President Obama even concluded, "we are not looking for Russia to fail. ... Our preference is for a strong, vibrant, confident Russia." Other items that caused some tension included Iran, Israel, NSA "trust" and US asking for "benefit of the doubt," and Greek anti-austerity plans...
This could be awkward... US President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are face-to-face this morning to present a 'united' front on world affairs. 'United' that is apart from Germany slamming US plans to provide weapons to Ukraine as "risky and counter-productive" and Obama rejecting Germany's calls for more austerity in Greece... let's see if they can "agree to disagree."
- Greek Risk Draws Global Concern on Lehman Echo Warnings (BBG)
- Merkel to urge caution in U.S. as pressure builds to arm Ukraine forces (Reuters)
- West Races to Defuse Ukraine Crisis (WSJ)
- German-French Push Yields Ukraine Summit Plan With Putin (BBG)
- Swiss Leaks lifts the veil on a secretive banking system (ICIJ)
- Italy Lenders Seen Cleansing Books Amid Bad-Bank Plans (BBG)
- G-20 Finance Chiefs Face Tough Test in Istanbul (WSJ)
- Demand for OPEC Crude Will Rise This Year, Says Group (WSJ)... or rather prays
- U.S. Banks Say Soaring Dollar Puts Them at Disadvantage (WSJ)
The cracks in the foundation, walls, and ceiling of the European Union are beginning to widen. During an interview with Italian State TV RAI3, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis hinted at Greece's "New Deal for Europe" strategy (to be financed by the EIB) but it was the glimpse behind the curtain of EU solidarity that was most shocking as he explained, "Greeks don't have a monopoly on the truth. What we can do, for the rest of Europe, and for Italy in particular, is to open a small door to the truth," adding rather stunningly, that Italy "stands in solidarity with [Greece] but cannot tell the truth as they fear of possible consequences on behalf of Germany."
Mission Accomplished? The "shadow of crisis has passed" but the unemployment rose... but The White House says you can ignore that because wages are growing (but Goldman says ignore that)... President Obama explains.