Reality

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It Begins: US May Send "Target Spotters" To Iraq To Counter ISIS "Offensive"





The US is now considering the possibility of sending so-called "spotters" to Iraq, a move ostensibly aimed at making airstrikes against ISIS more effective. Meanwhile, the militant group has claimed responsibility for Friday's suicide bombing in Saudi Arabi that killed 21.

 
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For Today's Investors: Ignorance Is Not Bliss - It Is Oblivion





“Ignorance is not bliss – it is oblivion. Determined ignorance is the hastiest kind of oblivion.” As investors, we have all been warned. Not by the future, but by the past.

 
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Junk-Rated Chicago Has A Billion Dollar Pension Problem





In downgrading the city, Moody’s said it expected “Chicago's credit challenges will continue, both in the near term and in the long term [as] unfunded liabilities of the Municipal, Laborer, Police, and Fire pension plans grow and exert increasing pressure on the city's operating budget.” That looks to have been an accurate assessment, because as Bloomberg reports, Chicago’s budget gap is set to triple by 2017.

 
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Our Crazy-Making Economy's Endgame: Festering Frustration Seeking An Outlet





The consequence of policies that exacerbate injustice, inequality and double-bind demands is a madness that will find a social and economic outlet somewhere, sometime.

 
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5 Things To Ponder: Everybody's Got One





No matter what investors SAY they will do, they will almost always succumb to the emotional investment mistakes caused by being human.

 
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David Cameron's New Thought Police





Once government becomes the arbiter of what speech is and isn’t legitimate, the door is inevitably thrown wide open to the suppression of all political dissent.

 
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Welcome To The Oligarch Recovery: 82% Of US Construction Is Luxury Units





The reason everything is being built for the wealthy, is because all the gains from the oligarch recovery have gone to the wealthy. This is no accident. It’s how the bailouts were designed, and how the status quo operates. Our socio-economic system since 2008 can be best described as serfdom, and nothing is going to change until people admit this, rather than hanging on to false hopes that they one day too will become an oligarch. It’s not gonna happen.

 
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Former Fed Governor Says Fed Lost Credibility To "Stay On Top Of Ticking Monetary Bomb"





"The Fed has dragged out the normalization of interest rates way beyond what is prudent... At some point... the market is going to say ‘on my god, we’re so far behind the curve’ and force an adjustment that is going to be wrenching... when this “wrenching” adjustment kicks in, it would turn into a market disruption at a level “seven or eight” on a scale of 10, with 10 being the worst."

 
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Housing Recovery - Real Or Memorex





The rising risk to the housing recovery story lies in the Fed's ability to continue to keep interest rates suppressed. It is important to remember that individuals "buy payments" rather than houses. With each tick higher in mortgage rates so goes the monthly mortgage payment. With wages remaining suppressed, 1 out of 3 Americans no longer counted as part of the work force or drawing on a Federal subsidy, the pool of potential buyers remains tightly constrained. While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a "driver" of economic growth in 2015 and beyond - the lack of recovery in the home ownership data suggests otherwise.

 
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The Fed's Computer Model Of The US Economy "Sees Little Slack" (And A Big Clue From Gartman)





Even without a double seasonal adjustment, the Fed may very well surprise with not only a September, but even a June hike. After all recall that to Yellen stocks are now clearly overvalued, and the cornered Fed Chairwoman is between a rock and a hard place - keep failing to rase rates and risk another bond tantrum as all the shorts are squeezed leading to even more illiquidity and volatility, or slowly take the air out of the stock bubble (good luck with that).

 
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Despite Weak Economic Data Overnight, Futures Slide On Rate Hike Concerns





The big news overnight was neither the Chinese manufacturing PMI miss nor the just as unpleasant (and important) German manufacturing and service PMI misses, but that speculation about a rate hike continues to grow louder despite the abysmal economic data lately, with the latest vote of support of a 25 bps rate increase coming from Goldman which overnight updated its "Fed staff model" and found surprisingly little slack in the economy suggesting that the recent push to blame reality for not complying with economist models (and hence the need for double seasonal adjustments) is gaining steam, and as we first suggested earlier this week, it may just happen that the Fed completely ignores recent data, and pushes on to tighten conditions, if only to rerun the great Trichet experiment of the summer of 2011 when the smallest of rate hikes resulted in a double dip recession.

 
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Is Martial Law Justified If ISIS Attacks?





We do not have to choose between liberty and security. We can have both, and we can provide it for ourselves as our own protectors. Sheepdogs be damned. Each citizen is his first and best line of defense. Only when the American people take on the philosophy of self-defense rather than government reliance will we be free of fear from terrorism and free of fear from tyrannical government. This is the answer to the propaganda of militarization. ISIS does not matter. It is what we ultimately do about ISIS or similar threats that matters, and martial law is not the answer.

 
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Militarization Is More Than Tanks & Rifles: It’s a Cultural Disease, Acclimating Citizens To Life In A Police State





The problems we’re grappling with have been building for more than 40 years. They’re not going to go away overnight, and they certainly will not be resolved by a report that instructs the police to simply adopt different tactics to accomplish the same results - i.e., maintain the government’s power, control and wealth at all costs. This is the sad reality of life in the American police state.

 

 
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The Fed Has Created A "Clockwork Orange" Market





Stanley Kubrick's highly-disturbing film-version of A Clockwork Orange takes place in a dystopian futuristic London and exposes the extreme battle of good versus evil. Extracting out the violence, we can’t help but notice the symbolic similarities of the motif-ridden story with the 2008 financial market fallout and subsequent attempts at economic rehabilitation. The film forces us to consider how much liberty we are willing to give up for order, and how much order we are willing to give up for liberty.  The central idea of the film has to do with the freedom of the individual to make free choices, but free choice becomes problematic when it undermines the safety and stability of society. It reminds us of the markets price discovery mechanisms (or lack thereof).

 
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WalMart's Leaked Anti-Union Training Video





An official WalMart “New Associate Orientation” video has surfaced. In the poorly acted but exceedingly funny nine minute clip (entitled “Protect Your Signature”), WalMart patiently explains to new hires why unions are bad.

 
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