If one believes the various US diffusion indices - among which key are the assorted regional Fed surveys the monthly PMI data - and listens to the pithy soundbites of their respondents, the US economy has hardly ever been better (of course, that 60% of "growth" in the past year has been due to inventory accumulation on hope that the consumer end demand will finally come is neither here nor there). However, we don't exactly believe said indices. Instead, to get a true sense of what is going on, it is always better to listen directly to those who are not only deep in the trenches, but are also accountable to their shareholders every quarter: the various CEOs and CFOs of America's public corporations. Below, courtesy of Bloomberg chief economist Rich Yamarone, who has compiled a selection of Q3 earnings call soundbites, is an indicative snapshot of the US economy as seen most recently through the prism of executives in a wide range of industries.
Investors all over the world are confronted by markets that have been dressed up for the amusement of the crew in charge of the ship, and nobody seems to recognize what they are looking at. Sure, they look like markets, but at the same time there is an unfamiliarity that is extremely unnerving to at least a few in the gathering crowd. The majority of the mob, however, have decided that they look enough like markets to charge in blindly in the expectation that all will be as it should. Things are not as they should be. Far from it.
Faith in the current system is as high as it has ever been, and folks don't want to hear otherwise. If you're one of those people who thinks it prudent to have intelligent discussion on some of these risks -- that maybe the future may turn out to be less than 100% awesome in every dimension -- you're probably finding yourself standing alone at cocktail parties these days. A helpful question to ask yourself is: if I could talk to my 2009 self, what would s/he advise me to do? Don't put yourself in a position to relearn that lesson so soon after the last bubble. Exercise the wisdom to look like an idiot today.
Here’s the crucial part of what Summers and Krugman are saying: this is not a temporary gig. This isn’t going to just “get better” on its own over time. This really is, as Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO would call it, the New Normal. And if you’re Jeremy Grantham or anyone for whom a stock has meaning as a fractional ownership stake in a real-world company rather than as a casino chip that gives you “market exposure” … well, that’s really bad news... Just don’t kid yourself into thinking that your deep dive into the value fundamentals of some large-cap bank has any predictive value whatsoever for the bank’s stock price, or that a return to the happy days of yesteryear is just around the corner. It doesn’t and it’s not, and even if you’re making money you’re going to be miserable and ornery while you wait nostalgically for what you do and what you’re good at to matter again. Spoiler Alert: Godot never shows up.
Hugh Hendry Capitulates: "Can't Look At Himself In The Mirror" As He Throws In The Towel, Turns BullishSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/22/2013 12:55 -0500
"I cannot look at myself in the mirror; everything I have believed in I have had to reject. This environment only makes sense through the prism of trends."
- Hugh Hendry
In an NSA presentation slide on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” however, a sketch shows where the “Public Internet” meets the internal “Google Cloud” where their data resides. In hand-printed letters, the drawing notes that encryption is “added and removed here!” The artist adds a smiley face, a cheeky celebration of victory over Google security.
IBM tried to come up with a panic-free explanation for the sudden collapse of hardware sales in China, but the Chinese government had warned of the coming fiasco in mid-August
Debunking Government’s Justification for Mass Surveillance
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Wikileaks recently continued the release of what they refer to as the “Spy Files.” These files provide a look into some of the companies behind the rapid commercialization of the spy equipment industry, who’s clients include repressive governments and dictatorial regimes around the world. In a press release announcing these files Wikileaks states: Across the world, mass surveillance contractors are helping intelligence agencies spy on individuals and ‘communities of interest’ on an industrial scale. The Wikileaks Spy Files reveal the details of which companies are making billions selling sophisticated tracking tools to government buyers, flouting export rules, and turning a blind eye to dictatorial regimes that abuse human rights. One of the companies highlighted is an Italian based company called Hacking Team...
"At what point do we just start calling these guys the Stasi,” asked a friend over coffee today. He was, of course, referring to the latest news out of the Guardian that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ have ‘cracked codes’ across the Internet that were once thought uncrackable. We're deeply suspicious some of the NSA’s assertions. They seem to be claiming that they have cracked nearly everything, and that they have backdoor access to privacy software. But this is practically impossible. Our assessment is that this is an intimidation campaign. The NSA wants people to think that they have this capability. If everyone thinks that the NSA is Big Brother’s Big Brother, all-seeing and all-knowing, then not only will everyone be terrified, but everyone will simply stop using encryption. After all, why bother going through the hassle of encrypting/decrypting if the NSA can still read the contents of your email?
It has been revealed, thanks to Edward Snowden, that Google and other US tech companies received millions of dollars from the NSA for their compliance with the PRISM mass surveillance system. So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy?
"Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do"
That Google was taking NSA money in exchange for handing over people’s data comes as no surprise. When Google encountered the big bad world, Google itself got big and bad.
The war against privacy is ultimately being fought to make sure you don't keep anything hidden when the global government funding crises comes to a head.
The “cloud” in China is corporate nirvana: a high-growth tech sector in a high-growth country. Or was. And it’s showing up in the numbers.
Obama must be fuming like a pile of something in the pristine Oval Office today as he hears of the latest Edward-Snowden revelations.