The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll—as all past empires have discovered.
“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” The famous quote by US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. is inscribed above the entrance to the headquarters of the IRS. Most people don’t have a clue what he meant, or in what context the statement was made. They simply parrot it around to justify the state’s racketeering behavior. The logic is as twisted as saying “war is the price we pay for peace” or “debt is the price we pay for recovery.” They’re all logical fallacies, and assertions backed by zero objective evidence. This is not how a ‘civilized society’ conducts itself.
Remember when banks said to ignore "one-time, non-recurring" legal fees because they are going away? Well, JPM yesterday showed they aren't. But it was Bank of America today which was slammed with the latest whopping $5.3 billion pretax litigation charge, which pushed its EPS once again into the red. But wait, there's great news: the loss of $0.01 is really a $0.42 non-GAAP adjusted profit if one "adds back" the $0.43 in litigation charges.
The former powerful mafia boss, turned motivational speaker and author, Michael Franzese, warned on CNBC that stocks are a bubble, Wall Street is crooked and advised people to own physical gold and silver bars. He said he would not invest in gold ETFs, rather he owns physical bars: “No matter what, it’s always going to have a value and there will always be something there ... ”
Here's a two-word summary of why the American healthcare system is fundamentally broken and cannot be fixed with policy tweaks: perverse incentives.
The total tonnage of economic malarkey being shoveled over the American public these days would make the late Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Minister of “Public Enlightenment and Propaganda”) turn green in his grave with envy. It’s a staggering phenomenon because little about it is conspiratorial; rather, it’s the consensual expression of a public that wants desperately to believe things that are untrue, and an economic leadership equally credulous, unmanned, and avid to furnish the necessary narratives that might preserve their jobs and perqs.
France Responds To US BNP Fine, Will Train Hundreds Of Russian Seamen To Operate French-Made WarshipSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/04/2014 08:03 -0500
France has suddenly found itself battling two populist fronts: on one hand it had to continue its foreign policy track of siding with NATO and the US when it comes to Russian developments; on the other it had to responds to howls of protest from the population bashing the US for having the temerity to punish its flagship bank (recall "France Furious At US $10 Billion BNP "Masterful Slap", "Racketeering" Fine"). Today, it was revealed that in weighing the two evils, it picked what it thought was the lesser one, and as the WSJ reports "a group of 400 Russian sailors are scheduled to arrive on June 22 in the French Atlantic port of Saint-Nazaire to undergo months of instruction before some of them pilot the first of two Mistral-class carriers back to Russia in the fall, said one of these people."
With Eric Holder suddenly playing hardball with the banks (most notably not US banks), it has not gone unnoticed among the largest European newspapers. The potential $10 billion penalty for BNP Paribas - France's largest bank - for alleged dealings with a sanctioned Iran has been called a "masterful slap," by Le Monde and Le Figaro said the U.S. was making an example of BNP to deflect criticism it had been "lenient with the American banks responsible for the financial crisis." This could make for an awkward week for Obama, not only facing Putin as he visits Europe to celebrate D-Day but as the allies themselves turn on him with France's Hollande likely to raise the matter and, as Bloomberg reports, newly elected National Front party called on the French government to "defend the national interest" in the case.
"I am owed 28,296 Bitcoins. I do not accept United States dollars, as it is the preferred currency of criminal organizations such as the FBI, DOJ, ATF, and Federal Reserve and I do not assist criminal racketeering enterprises."
Funny how, in the current national rapture of techno-narcissism, it is harder than ever to do something that for generations used to be as simple as pie: to get somebody on the telephone. To some degree, this situation represents the sheer diminishing returns and unintended consequences of technology. In a nation infatuated with technology, these entropic effects are always ignored. We just don’t want to hear about it, and our related infatuation with feel-good public relations bullshit spews a fog of concealment over it. It ought to be self-evident that this could only happen in a profoundly corrupt, dishonest, and degenerate society, because it took the form of a social compact that accepted this sort of behavior as okay.
We’ve been hearing a lot about the so-called Deep State lately. What to make of this shadowy monster? Some observers link it to the paranoid fantasy called the New World Order, a staple of political talk radio (and a hobgoblin I don’t believe in). In popular movies such as the Jason Bourne epics and Mission Impossible, the Deep State launches hyper-complex schemes that work flawlessly and never fail. That is exactly why they have such high entertainment appeal. Viewers are thrilled by the precision, by the conceit of seeming infallibility. The Deep State definitely exists; it just doesn’t work the way it is depicted in the movies. We like to say that we're allergic to conspiracy theories because human beings are generally too inept to carry out schemes at the grand scale, as well as being poor secret-keepers. Insider knowledge is almost always swapped around, even in secretive organizations, often recklessly so, because doling it out confers status, tactical advantage, and sometimes money for the doler-outer. But the Deep State isn’t a secret. It operates in plain sight.
The wonder is that more Americans are not ticked off about the state of our country than whatever is happening ten thousand miles away. The disintegration of Ukraine would be best understood by Americans as a mirror of ourselves and our sclerotic republic, poised to sink into poverty and disorder. Everything we do and say rings hollow now. What used to be called The Establishment has run out of ways to even pretend to save itself. We have no idea what’s next, but it’s not going to be more of what’s been.
- Putin playing the long game over Russian kin in Ukraine (Reuters)
- U.S.-Russia Relations Come Full Circle After Ukraine (WSJ)
- Japan PM makes offering to Yasukuni Shrine, angers China, South Korea (Reuters)
- In Gold Miners' Talks, Scale Is Crucial: Combined Barrick-Newmont Would Be Able to Trim Costs (WSJ)
- SEC Said to Weigh Shining Light on Brokers’ Stock Routing (BBG)... and protmply unweigh it
- Exelon Beating Facebook in S&P 500 After Valuation Scare (BBG)
- Court Case May Help Define 'Insider Trading' (WSJ)
- Spanish banks face tough rivalry in small companies bet (Reuters)
Moments ago, a hearing started in which the ongoing investigation of the George Washington bridge closure will focus on the role of Bridget Anne Kelly, Christe's former deputy chief of staff. The state legislative committee investigating the matter seeks to retrieve subpoenaed documents from Bridget Anne Kelly, and Bill Stepien, his former campaign manager. Just like in the case of IRS commissioner Lois Lerner, so Kelly is expected to plead the fifth. Watch the hearing below.
Chart Of The Day: JPMorgan's $30 Billion In Legal Fees And Expenses Since 2010 (And Why The New Compliance Officer Just Quit)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2014 13:59 -0500
The number: since 2010 JPM has paid a mindblowing $29.8 billion in "one-time, non-recurring" legal fees, charges, settlements, and otherwise expenses that in theory at least should not be part of its ongoing business operations.... but are.