While there have been many socio-economic 'explanations for the recent events in Ferguson, many of which have exceeded the realm of the factual and have brazenly encroached on feelings, emotions, heartstrings, and so on, the unpleasant reality is that much of what has transpired not only in the small 21,000-person St. Louis suburban community, but what is taking place across all of America has to do with a far simpler phenomenon: the rise of poverty and the destruction of America's middle class.
I was left slack-jawed as I listened to an interview on financial media between the host and guest. I have always enjoyed as well as respected the host even though many times I may totally disagree. However, as for the guest being interviewed, not only did I disagree: I lost quite a bit of respect for. During the interview the questions were posed as to why people (investors et al) harbor these feelings of angst as to whether or not they should get in, get out, etc,, etc. The guest then went on to use data points, math, trend references, and any other metric available within a snake oil sales bag as to prove his point: Where people not believing in this market rally along with those who’ve not participated are, (and I quote) “Idiots.” I have only one answer to that statement: What you’ve just demonstrated is exactly why people with more than half a brain aren’t buying your message: You are insulting their/our intelligence.
It is the effective manipulation of our belief systems that enslaves us to the present day insanity.
Why can't, or rather won't, the Fed let the bubble market collapse once again? Simple - as the following chart shows, the illusion of wealth is now most critical when preserving the myth of the welfare state: some 50% of all US pension fund assets are invested in stocks and only 20% in Treasurys.
President Obama has once again proved his irrelevance and uselessness by failing to say anything meaningful on the disturbing events of the past week. In fact, he only decided to address it personally and publicly yesterday after being heavily criticized for issuing a press release about the party he attended in Martha’s Vineyard as civilians in Missouri clashed with a paramilitary police force. Despite Obama’s complete apathy, there are some Congressmen forcefully speaking out against the trend from “both sides” of the increasingly meaningless Republican and Democrat divide. The most noteworthy thus far appears to be Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia’s 4th Congressional district. In fact, he has sent a Dear Colleague letter to fellow representatives of his intention to introduce the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act in September when Congress returns from recess.
After surging all week on the worst volume of the year, US equities hit an air-pocket of reality this morning as last night's news of a Russian 'invasion' was confirmed by Ukraine (and UK reporters), denied by Russia, and met with silence from the US. Of course, thanks to a handy VIXnado, stock bounced back to VWAP, stabilized and closed the week in the green. The last two weeks have been the best for 7Y bonds in 10 months as it closes back under 2% for the first time since Oct 2013. Amid all this chaos, the US dollar closed unchanged on the week (giving up mid-week gains) as AUD and CAD strength dominated EUR weakness. Gold and silver - after a quiet week - was clubbed lower in the pre-open. Gold and oil surged higher on the Ukraine news - closing marginally lower on the week. VIX was cranked down to an 11 handle before Ukraine hit, surged back over 14.5, then jerked lower to close 'weaker' than stocks imply. Once again, US stocks surged once Europe closed (and of course, the panic buying into close makes perfect sense).
Chinese Power Consumption Crashes: Lowest Growth In 16 Months, Tumbles 10% In Shanghai, As Much As 22% ElsewhereSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/15/2014 15:02 -0400
When it comes to Chinese (or any other in these centrally-planned, fabricated days) economic data, there is GDP and then there is reality. And as the current premier of China himself has admitted, there is no more accurate indicator of real, not bullshit "growth", than China's monthly power consumption. It is here that another rather massive divergence from China's official data (which has the world believe China GDP rose 7.5% in Q2) has appeared. According to Economic Information Daily, power consumption in Shanghai and Jiangsu fell by more than 10% y/y in July, compared with double-digit growth a year ago, sources said. And it gets worse: other provinces, including Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou, reported a power consumption declines of up to 22 percentage points. One could almost say the Ukraine ministry of YouTube clips has been put in charge of China's GDP calculation.
We believe Ferguson will be seen as a major turning point. The point in which many well-intentioned, but incredibly naive folks in white mainstream America woke up to what we have become. Many people, particularly those in the media, have been willfully ignorant about the destruction of freedom and civil liberties in America. The events in Fergus have taken a gigantic mirror and successfully pointed it squarely at our civil society and the image it has reflected back is one of a horrific, militarized, authoritarian monster. So how did this transformation occur and what does it mean going forward?
Those people piling into bonds on bad retail sales numbers based upon antiquated retail correlations are in for one big surprise.
The US is clearly now pushing Russia towards war. But if you read the signs correctly, Russia has been preparing for exactly this outcome for many years.
Phantom wealth cannot possibly fund unprecedented retirement and healthcare promises. Only real wealth can do that, and central bank liquidity and the asset bubbles it inflates are not real wealth.
With record rental expenses already forcing millions of Americans to have far less disposable income for everything else once the monthly bill for the roof above one's head is paid, here is a breakdown of 25 selected US metropolitan areas, ranked from most to least expensive, how much it costs to rent a two-bedroom apartment (one can only assume the $1,440 price listed for New York is based on some non-GAAP, magical numbers that exclude reality).
These bonds are the benchmarks for “risk” in the financial system. Stocks, corporate bonds, mortgages, auto loans, emerging market stocks… everything you can name are ultimately priced based on their perceived risk relative to the “risk free” rate of lending money to the US for 10 years.
ISIS has attracted an entire generation of radicalized Sunni militants to the region. If one watches interviews with their enemies such as e.g. Peshmerga fighters, one topic that is occasionally mentioned is that they don't seem to fear death much. Combined with their well-known brutality, this undoubteldy makes them a formidable fighting force. However, there is evidently far more to ISIS than that. All of the above suggests that it will be exceedingly difficult to effectively destroy ISIS. It seems to us that if the goals the president has announced in recent days are to be achieved, nothing short of a full-scale invasion of Iraq (as well as of Syria for good measure) is likely to suffice – and even then, success is by no means guaranteed.